Thursday, July 19, 2012

Olympic Bound: Japan’s World Cup Women Fly Economy; Men Relax in Business

I'm aghast. Japan's women's team won the World Cup Soccer in 2011, and all they got for that was a bump up from the economy class to the economy "premium" class, while the men's team was in the business class, on the same plane.

How that for the insult?

And the reason? The Japan Football Association says "Well, it's been always like this..." The country of Japan is a place for routines, no matter what. All through last year, people went through annual routines - children digging up bamboo shoots in the dirt, planted rice seedlings in the mud with bare feet, people having outdoor parties under the cherry blossoms, having school children clean out the swimming pools before the swimming season, on and on. So what the women's soccer team won the World Cup? They've always flown economy, why change now?

From Wall Street Journal (7/19/2012; emphasis is mine):

Sexist Soccer? Japan’s World Cup Women Fly Economy; Men Relax in Business

A whole nation celebrated when the Japanese women’s soccer squad won the World Cup last year. But hopes that the surprise victory would change attitudes toward women playing the beautiful game in Japan appear to have been premature.

World champions they may be, but when it comes to the pecking order against their male counterparts, Japan’s female football players are relegated to backseat status — literally.

The Japanese women, considered strong contenders for Olympic gold in London, had to squeeze into economy seats on a 12-hour flight to Europe this week, while members of the less successful men’s soccer team, enjoyed the plush amenities of business class further up the cabin.

“It should have been the other way around,” team captain Homare Sawa, the belle of Japanese soccer, told reporters after arriving in Paris. “Even just in terms of age, we are senior,” joked FIFA’s women’s soccer player of the year.

The Japan Football Association lies behind the class separation. While the Japan Olympic Committee gives all Olympic-bound athletes economy class tickets, it is up to the respective associations of each sport to upgrade athletes’ seats as necessary, a JOC spokesman said.

Economy seats to Europe cost as much as ¥160,000 a pop, or about $2,000, but that is considerably less than the ¥400,000 or so a business class seat on a Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo to Paris cost as of Thursday.

To be fair, the Japanese women did get a bump of sorts. They were upgraded to economy premium, which offers 20% extra leg room.

The JFA was not immediately available for comment. But the association has previously said the ticket class distinction has been this way for a long time. The men have been flying business since the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, a couple of years after the men’s league went professional, while the women have remained in coach.


The president of the JFA said on Wednesday that for him to consider upgrading the women to business class on the return flight, the women would have to win gold. The men, who are not tipped for a medal, will be there regardless.

(Full article at the link)

I wonder how the men's team felt. I hope they were uncomfortable, but "hope" is a dirty word these days.


JAnonymous said...

Too bad there's no rugby at the olympics, they would be flying a private jet for sure.

The final word of the WSJ article is quite a thing too : "The president of the JFA said on Wednesday that for him to consider upgrading the women to business class on the return flight, the women would have to win gold. The men, who are not tipped for a medal, will be there regardless."

Let me try another flavor : The president of Kepco said on Wednesday that for him to consider stopping the Ooi NPP, it would have to achieve a triple meltdown. The Fukushima reactors, which have already achieved this status, will remain blurting out freaky steam regardless.

It's raining and cold in Tokyo today, let's hope we get to hear more drums tonight.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Thanks JAnonymous, I added that hilarious part.

Are you going to the protest this evening?

Anonymous said...

yep the usual discrimination again from Japan, not just foreigners who get treated like 2nd class citizens its also their own women, regardless of the fact they have won the world cup! ...jeez what a joke of a country..

Anonymous said...

Very disappointing about the women's soccer team. The men should give up their business class seats in protest.

Anonymous said...

The attitude of "class" -- and treating others as second hand citizens-- is alive and well in the Japan's Fukushima disaster as well. Lower "caste" citizens.."you just are not worth spending money on." And not following regulations or laws for "second class citizens." Sadly, this also may help explain the treatment of pregnant women, no big deal to lose a baby, no big deal to be radiated... I hope some of the "men" realize they need women to continue their race!

Anonymous said...

In reality, business and first class flying is only made possible by the 'bubble' of banker-issued fiat currencies. If anyone has paid any attention to the airfare prices for overseas business and first class flights, they will see that those prices are not reasonable and would hardly be affordable if there was a sound and honest monetary system.

So, think of the fiat currency system as promoter of class struggles and distinctions. In other words, the huge gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots' is made possible because of the use of fiat debt currencies.

Anonymous said...

Japanese men are notoriously sexist ignorant fucks , this shows the world what a bunch of cretins they are... their time is coming and they will be pushed aside by more open mindedness and not the closed ignorant shit Japan churns out... just look at the ruling elite there !

Anonymous said...

It sounds like they are treating these women like a bunch of "office ladies" (Ōeru). Maybe the guys want the ladies to quit and get married because they make the guys look bad. I'm surprised they didn't force the women to serve the guys in business class like airborne geisha.

Anonymous said...

Didn't I read somewhere that AUSTRALIA is doing the same thing with two of its teams?

Anonymous said...

im so cool and go italy

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