• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will leave Japan on Monday to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York where he is expected to vow to support the social advancement of women and protect their rights, government sources said Sunday.

Abe is then expected to take the opportunity Thursday to demonstrate the government’s policy of improving women’s position in society in line with a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in 2000 on protecting women’s rights.

Some observers say the move is also aimed at correcting the perception that Japan does not respect women’s rights, which has been bolstered in part by the government’s refusal to acknowledge its role in rounding up the “comfort women,” Japan’s euphemism for the thousands of women who were forced into sexual servitude by the Imperial Japanese military before and during the war.

During the speech, Abe also is expected to explain how women are part of the government’s “growth strategy,” in which it proposes raising the proportion of women occupying leading corporate positions to 30 percent by 2020.

Abe is also expected to express Tokyo’s readiness to contribute to global efforts on protecting women’s rights, compiling an action plan to prevent violence against women during conflicts and disasters, and encouraging women’s participation in the process of disaster recovery.

Abe plans to hold a meeting with female business managers in the United States after the speech.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to explain Tokyo’s efforts to protect women in Africa at a ministerial meeting on women’s policy to be held in conjunction with the U.N. conference.

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