TOKYO (AP) — A worker at major Japanese sportswear maker Asics says he is suing the company to counter the idea that a man's place is at work and a woman's is in the home.

The father of two appeared at a hearing Thursday in the Tokyo District Court, which is handling the case on "pata-hara," or paternity harassment.

He is requesting anonymity for fear of further retribution.

His lawsuit is one of the first of its kind in Japan. Asics denies any wrongdoing.

The man, whose sons are now 4 and 1, wants his original job back and 4.4 million yen ($41,000) in damages.

Japan tends to value loyalty to the company and long hours.

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