The Japanese government recently unveiled a draft proposal aimed at increasing gender equality in the country’s labor force.
Promoting gender equality: The draft policy, prepared by Japan’s Gender Equality Council to be incorporated into the Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform, proposes that large Japanese companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s (TSE) Prime Market should have women occupying 30% of the available executive positions by 2030.
Set to be adopted by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet by the end of the month, the “Priority Policies for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality” proposal specifically calls for such companies to appoint at least one female board member by 2025.
Aligning with international standards: The council aims to incorporate these objectives into TSE regulations by the end of 2023 in a bid to align Japan with international corporate governance standards in greater accountability and transparency.
“It is urgent for these firms to accelerate the promotion of women to executive posts for the growth of the Japanese economy,” the draft stated, noting that the country has been “lagging far behind internationally” in women landing executive positions.
Addressing other gender-related issues: To address pay disparities, the draft suggests expanding the mandatory disclosure of gender-based wage gap information from companies with 301 or more regular employees to those with 101 to 300 employees.
The council also outlines proposals to increase the number of men taking childcare leave and to promote the concept of dual-income couples sharing parenting responsibilities to alleviate the burden of child-rearing primarily placed on women.
It also mandates the establishment of a benefits system that ensures parents with children under the age of two, regardless of gender, can work shorter hours without experiencing a reduction in take-home pay.
Driving change: The proposed measures aim to drive substantial progress in promoting gender equality and representation in executive positions within companies in the TSE’s Prime Market, which currently lists 1,835 companies.
Reserved for large companies with an international presence, the Prime Market has the strictest listing criteria among the TSE’s three segments, requiring companies to have a tradable share market capitalization of at least 10 billion Japanese Yen (approximately $71.8 million).