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Local governments have been cautious in setting goals for appointing women to managerial posts, a Kyodo News survey has found.

Kyodo News sent questionnaires to a total of 1,788 heads of the nation’s 47 prefectures, 790 cities, 745 towns, 183 villages and Tokyo’s 23 wards in mid-January, with 1,776 replying by mid-February.

Just 18.8 percent of the respondents said they have set goals. A further 12.2 percent said they intend to set them while 67.6 percent — mainly small municipal bodies in towns and villages — said they have no such plans.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set the goal of raising the proportion of women in management posts to 30 percent by 2020.

Some local governments, such as Nanjo, a small city in Okinawa Prefecture, cited their relatively small populations as a reason for not taking up the goal.

Others said workplace reforms prevented them from doing so.

In Osaki, Kagoshima Prefecture, for example, the local government cited difficulties in setting a goal amid a decline in the town office workforce due to administrative reforms.

The local government in Nankoku, Kochi Prefecture, said the merit should determine promotions to managerial posts, not sex.

In Tahara, Aichi Prefecture, the local government said the matter should be at the discretion of each municipality.

The town government in Aikawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, even noted that some female officials refuse to accept promotions, citing family circumstances.

Meanwhile, the Kasaoka, Okayama Prefecture, municipal government said it is aiming to raise the proportion of women in senior official slots to 20 percent in fiscal 2017, which begins April 1 that year.

The city government of Niigata also said it is planning to increase the number of females in managerial slots, specifically department directors.

A senior official with the central government’s Cabinet Office in charge of promoting the appointment of women to management posts said it was desirable that local governments set realistic goals.

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