One in four members of national government councils and boards as of the end of September were women, a slight increase of 0.3 percentage point from the same period last year, according to a survey by the Cabinet Office’s Gender Equality Bureau released Friday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, who serves concurrently as minister for gender equality, reported the survey’s findings at a Cabinet meeting.

The survey, conducted on 100 councils, advisory boards and other committees, found that 429 of 1,715 members were female, five more than the previous year.

Ministries with the highest proportion of female participation on their councils were the Foreign Ministry at 40 percent, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology at 28.9 percent and the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications at 28.3 percent.

The Defense Agency and the Financial Services Agency ranked the lowest, with 20 percent each.

The survey also found three councils in which there were no female members at all. They are the Central Council on Defense Facilities of the Defense Agency, the Space Activities Commission of the science and technology ministry, and the National Development Arterial Expressway Construction Council of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

The Headquarters for the Promotion of Gender Equality said it will continue to call for the cooperation of the ministries and agencies in hopes of raising the proportion of female participation to 30 percent by the end of March 2006.

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