Please don't give Japan a bad reputation in Europe!
To the Mayor of Toyonaka
January 19, 2004
Through friends in Japan, I have heard that you are in effect trying to get rid of Ms.Mariko Mitsui as director of STEP in Toyonaka City.
I am a journalist in the Norwegian Broadcasting Company, NRK, the public broadcasting company in Norway. And through my job I have met Ms. Mitsui several times when she has been in Norway, and I have also interviewed her when I have been in Japan.
In Norway Ms. Mitsui has been one of the few examples we know of that Japan is after all taking gender equality seriously. We know that in Norway and the rest of Europe Japan has a very low standing internationally when it comes to equality questions. And the generally accepted idea is that Japanese authorities do very little to change this situation.
Toyonaka City has been an example of an enlightened policy where the local authorities seriously has tried to change that, and become part of a global movement for more equality between men and women in Japan. This has given Toyonaka City a positive image, and has given many people who have heard of this a hope for Japanfs future when it comes to gender equality.
I am shocked to hear that Toyonaka City now are proposing to change this and in effect dismiss Mariko Mitsui and jeopardize the good work that the Gender Equality Center in Toyonaka has done since it started.
I would like to make an interview about this for Norwegian radio, and ask you to give me a name and a telephone number of someone who can be interviewed about this in English. If that is not possible I can get someone to make the interview in Japanese.
Mobil: 924244 28
Mitsui should be the last person STEP would want to lose.
To Mr. Mayor of Toyonaka
January 25, 2004
I am a long-time friend and associate of Mariko Mitsui. I have known her from school days and have watched her and admired her as she has become a significant force in the Japanese struggle to secure equal rights for all citizens, in particular to secure gender equality in Japan.
Mariko Mitsui has spent her life in the pursuit of this high human goal. In my opinion, she should be the last person a responsible group, such as STEP, would want to lose. Instead, she should be honored, but more important than that, she should be listened to.
During several years while I was living in Japan, lecturing and writing textbooks for Japanese students, I had many conferences with Mariko. I observed her taking leadership roles, and doing her work with both tenacity and charm. She, through her work, has become an international figure, helping others to secure equal gender rights, but her most important work is at home, in Japan.
It is understandable that some people or groups would want to be rid of her, for she does not give up in the face of trial and assault. She does not run away from enay shouters,f nor does she give up her role as a dedicated leader even when there are attempts, as now, to remove her. As I have said, Mariko Mitsui should be honored and listened to. I know you will listen and support her in her work\which is the work of all of us.
English Professor Emeritus
San Francisco State University
I will investigate on a vicious campaign against Ms.Mitsui
January 19, 2004
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am the political editor of one of Norwayfs largest circulation magazines, Fagbladet , published by the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees. The magazine, with an audited circulation of 300,000, is also read throughout the other Nordic countries, and by international and worldwide organizations within the trade union movement.
Through friends in Japan, a vicious campaign against Mariko Mitsuifs position as Director of STEP has come to my attention. Let me add that I have met Ms. Mitsui on several occasions, both in Japan and during her visit here in Norway.
As I am planning a trip to Japan later this winter, I would like to inform you that I am planning an investigative report on the Nihon Kaigi and its opposition to the Gender Equality Law.
What's been happening in Toyonaka City seems to serve as an example to the inner working of your political machinery, and as Ms. Mitsui is quite well known here, having interviewed both our former Prime Minister (and World Health Organization chief director) Gro Harlem Brundland and several other party leaders and politicians, I am quite sure the story will attract some attention here.
As I am in the process of finalizing my travel plans, I would very much like you to send me any press statements and other relevant material concerning this matter in preparation for my trip to Japan, where, of course, Toyonaka City Hall will be one of my stops. I would prefer you to send my any such statements in English, as the matter in hand is bound to interest the international community outside Japan, but if that is impossible, there are Japanese friends living here who can help me translate any documents.
Sverre Fredheim (Mr)
P.O.Box 7003 St. Olavs Plass
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