Women’s Role in Japan Rising, From Autos to Olympics
News from Asia
Japan’s continuing efforts to enlarge its workforce by employing more women in higher jobs is paying dividends, from auto manufacturing to the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo.
Nissan Japan has announced that it wants women in 10 percent of its managerial jobs in Japan and 14 percent of all management jobs worldwide by 2017. The company said it has increased manager-level positions for women by fivefold since 2004.
In sports, Tokyo’s Olympic organizers are proposing that women’s softball return to the Olympics when Japan hosts the games in 2020. This would mark the first time in 12 years that softball, and baseball, too, will be included in the quadrennial games, and the proposal is expected to be approved next year. Softball is one of the most popular sports in Japan, and Japanese women’s teams rank among the highest worldwide.
These developments and others are marking progress for the campaign by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to accelerate gender diversity in Japan’s workplace.
Abe recently pushed through the Japanese diet, or parliament, a new law requiring national and local governments as well as large companies to fix targets for hiring women and placing women in managerial positions.
He also has declared that Japan will be a world leader in its programs for women’s employment and human rights when the Group of Seven industrialized nations meet in Japan next year. Japan will then hold the presidency of the G-7 summit which includes the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy.
Japan’s efforts to promote women in the workplace have succeeded to the extent that 64 percent of Japanese women now work outside their homes, surpassing the 63 percent in the United States, according to recent data.
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