Ueno@Japan Times

ERIC PRIDEAUX “Ueno Chizuko: Speaking up for her sex”

Japan Timesによるインタヴュー。〈国分寺市問題〉を巡って;

How do you interpret the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's alleged resistance to your talk in Kokubunji City? You wrote the officials a letter of protest. What was the response?

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government office sent me a letter. You can see it (in Japanese) on our Web site [www.cablenet.ne.jp/~mming/against_GFB.html]. It was just a short note saying they are not responsible for making a decision, that it was rather Kokubunji City that did so and TMG had only showed their concern (over use of the term "gender free.")

Will you take legal action?

I'm thinking about it.

Do you see this as a violation of your right to free speech?

Generally speaking yes, though no damage has been done to me. I have strong objections to any public body banning the use of any words unless they are discriminatory or hurtful to others.

Some women scholars describe a backlash against feminism that started in the 1990s. Do you regard this incident in that way?

I do think so, very much. Not only in terms of gender equality but, in a sense, there is a very dangerous trend of neo-nationalism, which makes all social minorities targets of bashing.

Examples include welfare underdogs and ethnic minorities like Korean residents. Tokyo Gov. Ishihara used the term "sangokujin" in a speech. [Literally, "people from third countries"; it generally refers to Taiwanese or Korean immigrants and their descendants, and is widely considered offensive.] Also, many people regard new migrants from Asia as a risk to public safety.

This kind of political climate is very defensive, rightwing, conservative, neo-nationalist and is being seen everywhere -- particularly among senior men and also among young men. If you look at rightwing demonstrations, they've recruited youngsters. It's quite similar to neo-Nazism in Germany and [far-right politician Jean-Marie] Le Pen in France, and maybe Bush supporters.

インタヴューの最後は”the topic of your private life”。