Japanese women need more visible female role models in the workplace to reach Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "womenomics" target of having 30 percent of leadership positions in Japan held by women by 2020, a panel of female business leaders said recently in New York.

"There is not a critical mass of women that are in those positions," Daiwa Capital Markets America Holdings, Inc. CEO Keiko Tashiro said at a Japan Society event, referring to the lack of female business leaders in Japan.

Despite Abe's lofty goal, only 8 percent of senior roles in businesses in Japan are held by women today, as opposed to the 22 percent global average, according to the Grant Thorton International Business Report 2015.