Japan joins pact to provide women with equal economic, political futures

Kyodo, JIJI

Japan has joined the Equal Futures Partnership, a multilateral initiative aimed at increasing the political and economic presence of women.

“I would like to affirm our resolve to work with you all to expand participation in economic and political spheres by women both in Japan and around the world,” Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told representatives at a meeting Monday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

To achieve the pact’s goals, Kishida pledged that the government will make it easier for both men and women to balance work and child rearing, while offering incentives to firms that recruit women to active roles and promote the work-family balance of employees.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration also aims to increase the percentage of women in leading governmental positions to 30 percent by 2020.

Alongside Japan, Italy and Mexico became the latest members of the 24-country initiative. The partnership was formed in 2012 by then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and included 12 other countries.

While at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Kishida is holding a series of diplomatic meetings with his counterparts over pressing international issues.

On Iran’s nuclear weapons development, Kishida on Monday told Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Tehran should take concrete action to address concerns over its nuclear program and adopt a flexible stance, according to Japanese officials.

Kishida welcomed new Iranian President Hasan Rowhani’s emphasis on dialogue to resolve the issue, and said the Abe administration is ready to call on the United States and other countries to ease tensions with Iran. However, Tokyo expects Tehran to make a “wise decision,” Kishida was quoted as telling Zarif.

The minister also met with new Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop the same day, and the two agreed to enhance defense cooperation and cement economic ties, confirming their commitment to ongoing negotiations on a bilateral free trade pact and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the officials said.

They also agreed to encourage more people, including youths, to meet through exchange programs.

Kishida told Bishop, who only took office last week, that since Japan is preparing to host the 2020 Olympics, the Abe administration is keen to tap the organizational know-how of Australia, which held the 2000 Summer Games, the officials said.

Kishida to meet Yun


Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his South Korean counterpart will meet Thursday afternoon in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

It will be the first meeting between Kishida and Yun Byung-se since they held talks in July on the sidelines of an ASEAN Regional Forum in Brunei. They are expected to confirm bilateral cooperation in tackling North Korea’s nuclear development.