Japan needs woman power

Picture of Yuriko Koike campaigning in the elections for governor of Japan’s capital city in 2016
Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s first female governor, is one of the few Japanese women in key positions of power. In 2007, she was briefly minister of defense (source: dpa)

  • Japan’s conservative culture discourages women from combining children and careers
  • As the country’s demographic trend worsens, more women’s participation in the labor force is essential
  • While traditionalist ruling elites have ignored this solution, societal change seems inevitable

Japan’s population is shrinking and aging rapidly. Its demographic projections for coming decades are getting ever more pessimistic, with some forecasts predicting that the country’s population, which currently stands at some 127 million, will shrink to 83 million by 2100.

While such long-term prognostication is inherently uncertain, one thing is already apparent: Japan is suffering from a demographic crisis that strains the existing social security system, damages its labor market and impairs its industrial competitiveness.

In addressing these complex challenges, strategies for empowering Japanese women and incorporating them into the economy will be of pivotal importance.

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