June 3 (UPI) -- Nearly 19,000 people in Japan petitioned the government Monday to bar companies from requiring that women wear high heels in the workplace.
"This is just the first step," she said. "This is a problem that many women believed was a personal issue because [wearing high heels] is generally seen as good etiquette."
The petition coincides with Japan's annual recruitment screening, a time when new graduates are hired by companies and the majority of hiring takes place. The appeal started with a tweet by Ishikawa, describing frustration with having to wear high heels at a funeral parlor where she worked part-time. The tweet received 67,000 likes and nearly 30,000 retweets.
The #KuToo movement is a variation of #MeToo, the sexual harassment campaign that's gained traction worldwide focusing on workplace misconduct. The Japanese word for shoes, kutsu, and pain, kutsuu, contribute to the moniker.
Ishikawa said she would like wearing flat shoes to become the standard.
Japan's health and labor ministry said Monday's the first time it's heard so many voices on the issue.
"But we were also repeatedly told how difficult enacting a law to counter gender harassment and discrimination can be," Ishikawa added.
A similar campaign is underway in Britain, after a receptionist was sent home without pay four years ago over her footwear. At the 2016 Cannes Film Fiestival in France, Julia Roberts and other actresses walked the red carpet barefoot or in sneakers after some women without heels weren't allowed into the festival the year before.