Japanese women still at a disadvantage, first lady says


Staff Writer

Career women continue to face significant hurdles in Japan’s male-dominated business culture, according to first lady Akie Abe.

The wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a conference in Tokyo on Monday that widespread prejudices include the expectation that women should serve beneath male managers and quit the workforce when their family situation changes.

“Japanese women still lack a strong mindset to continue with work” after events such as marriage and motherhood, she told the Women’s Career Forum 2014, organized by the Japanese unit of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

She added that such symposiums should invite more men to speak — a suggestion she heard from participants at the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo: WAW! Tokyo 2014 in September.

Asked for her opinion on what women can do to get back to work after a period as a stay-home mother, she replied: “Housewives should ideally acquire work skills just in case.

“I also think women should be able to work in ways that suit them. Women’s views should be reflected more in the way society is,” she said. “For example, we might be able to create a (kind of) office where babies can play on the floor and colleagues help each other in taking care of them.”

Following Abe’s speech, a panel of three prominent female executives discussed diversity. They were Ayako Goto, executive officer of Corporate Communication Group of Calbee Inc., Keiko Fujimoto, director and executive officer at Seven-Eleven Japan Co., and Michiko Achilles, director and vice chair of nonprofit organization GEWEL (Global Engagement Wellbeing Excellence Leadership.)

  • Fijian Abductors Tokyo

    My daughter was abducted from my house in Nerima-Ku and sent
    away from Japan with her aunt to Fiji, in September 2010. How could the
    immigration allow a baby less than a year old, travel without either
    parents or written consent of both? MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    knows about this case and did nothing!! Simply because the mother is a
    diplomat of the Fijian embassy in Tokyo. (government corruption) She
    neglected her own child (and still is) because of our problems. I
    reported it to the police, in both countries and until this day I have
    not seen my daughter since September 2010. Canadian embassy tried their
    best to help as I wanted my daughter to at least get her Canadian
    passport to travel to meet her family for the first time. The Japanese
    immigration officers FAILED, Azabu Police FAILED, MOFA and the numerous
    people I reported this case to at MOFA FAILED! Fijian Ambassador in
    Japan was also a part of this abduction because my child was taken to
    his residence and stayed there before she was sent away with her aunt to
    Fiji without my permission. My daughter was registered to be living in
    Japan. I took her to get her first shot in Japan. The Japanese system
    FAILED because there were no protocols set up to be enforced against
    officers or diplomat of other countries, so my ex and the Fijian
    ambassador in japan got away with child abduction. Currently my daughter
    is still in Fiji living with the aunt and her mother in Japan. My
    daughter has been denied her rights to me her father and the mother is
    currently applying for full custody of her child who she has not
    physically cared for 4 years. The Fijian courts will perhaps grant this
    custody because (they are a corrupt country only loving kava and rugby
    and nothing humane) ….the ambassador was previously a lawyer and an
    appointed judge in Fiji ( add aide to kidnapping and corruption) so his
    influence on the matter is important because he is involved directly in a
    crime. The second secretary of the Fijian embassy in Tokyo is the
    mother who has not physically been with her own child for 4 year and is
    applying for full custody. What kind of sick world are we living in?
    Just because someone works for the government with corrupt
    representatives, they are allowed to get away with crimes such as
    abduction? MOFA in Japan and the system relating to child abduction has
    Seeking an international lawyer.