The government has abandoned its aim of having women in 30 percent of management roles by 2020. On Friday it approved a new gender equality road map that slashes targets in some areas.

While the Cabinet Office insists the 30 percent figure remains its general aim, the drastic lowering of expectations acknowledges poor progress to date in areas such as government service.

Under the new five-year plan, endorsed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet, the government will work toward more modest goals such as 7 percent for national public servants and 15 percent for local government officials and private companies.