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Abe pledges promotion of women’s empowerment as next year’s G7 chair

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to further promote women’s empowerment initiatives next year when Japan hosts the summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

“Japan will push the agenda on women forward vigorously when it holds the presidency of a G-7 summit next year,” Abe said Sunday in an address to a U.N. meeting on gender equality and women’s empowerment in New York.

Abe was referring to the Ise-Shima summit slated for May in Mie Prefecture, which will bring together the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

“Japan will take further action and initiatives to protect women’s rights and promote the engagement of women in society and to solve issues to achieve gender equality, development and peace through empowerment,” he told the meeting, which was broadcast live on the Internet.

“Japan will implement its resolve to lead the world in making the 21st century a century with no human rights violations against women,” Abe added.

As examples, the prime minister referred to a law enacted last month to promote the active engagement of women in society and Japan’s pledge to extend more than ¥42 billion (about $350 million) in official development assistance to developing countries for high-quality education for women and girls over the next three years.

The law requires the central and local governments as well as large companies to set targets for encouraging the hiring of women and the appointment of women to managerial positions. Abe has been promoting steps to empower women as part of his “Abenomics” economic policies to shore up the nation’s growth.

Japan has also increased its contributions to U.N. Women, or the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, 10-fold on a yen basis over the past two years. The U.N. agency opened a liaison office in Tokyo in August.

Along with Abe, Sunday’s meeting, co-sponsored by China and U.N. Women, brought together some 80 leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, as well as heads of international organizations and civic groups.

In a separate leaders’ meeting on climate change on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Abe pledged Japan’s efforts toward an agreement on a “fair and effective” framework to curb global warming at a U.N. meeting later this year in Paris, according to the Foreign Ministry.

He called for involving “all countries” in the envisaged framework, an apparent reference to major carbon emitters such as China, the United States and India, a point also raised by other participants, the ministry said in a news release.

  • Jay

    You must be joking. You mean the Japan that ranks 104th out of 142 countries in gender equality? Japan will never “lead the world” on this one, and as much as Abe may pretend to promote women’s issues, there has been little change in male-dominated Japan: very few women in politics or in senior management positions.