Upper House Halted by Dress Code Row Over Red Scarf

October 3, 2014 @ JapanTimes

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The Upper House, often called the chamber of wisdom, has been rocked by a dress code row after a new minister with a fashion fetish for the color red appeared sporting a red scarf. Justice Minister Midori Matsushima, who is known for always wearing red clothing to work, wore the scarf while attending a plenary session on Wednesday, prompting complaints from opposition lawmakers. Decades-old rules ban the wearing of hats, coats or scarves in deliberation chambers and committee rooms. “A scarf is simply part of my outfit,” she told reporters. “It’s an ordinary fashion item for an ordinary woman.” The row had particular piquancy for fellow lawmaker member Antonio Inoki, a strapping former wrestler known for his outsized chin and trademark red scarf. Inoki has apparently refrained from wearing his scarf in the chamber in deference to the rules. Matsushima said there was a distinction between a scarf that might be worn to keep warm — known as an “erimaki” (muffler) in Japanese — and one worn as adornment. “They are different from scarves for women’s fashion,” she said Thursday.

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