Japan store to replace staff 'period badges' after uproar

Tokyo (AFP) –


A Japanese department store has scrapped a "period badge" for employees that let colleagues know they were menstruating, after the policy sparked an internet storm, a spokeswoman said Friday.

One of Daimaru's upscale department stores in the western city of Osaka began the programme last month, adopting an idea proposed by female employees.

The voluntary badges were intended to alert colleagues to the idea that coworkers with severe menstrual pains -- or other period-related needs -- might require longer breaks or extra help lifting heavy objects.

But after local media reported the policy, prompting outrage on Twitter, several customers rang the store to question the merit of what is now dubbed a "period badge".

"We are not scrapping the programme itself because it is strictly for internal communication, among those who work here," a company spokeswoman told AFP.

But she said the store will use something other than the badge.

"Most of our staff are women and staff members support this programme. We will continue in a better way," she said.

The idea came as the luxury store prepared to launch a new section for products related to female hygiene on a floor dedicated to young women's fashion.

During its planning, staff openly discussed their experiences with periods and ways to improve the work environment.

To launch the section, the store worked with "Seiri-chan", a comic-book character whose name means "Ms. Period", which has been made into a new movie.

The store then created a badge that announced the start of the section's opening from November 22 on one side, with the pink character on the other.

"There was a time when speaking openly about periods just did not happen. Now we can do this," the Daimaru spokeswoman said.

"Everyone experiences periods differently. Through discussions, we believe this can lead to greater understanding of our experiences," she said.