• Kyodo

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The government decided Wednesday to oblige businesses in Japan from Jan. 1, 2017, to take more steps to prevent harassment against pregnant women and mothers in workplaces.

The government policy will be reflected in law revisions to address so-called maternity harassment, when women are unfairly bullied, are demoted, or have their employment terminated without just cause.

The revisions to the law on equal employment opportunity, as well as the law concerning child care, will be submitted to the current regular Diet session, government officials said.

The envisioned changes will make it mandatory for employers to help protect women from being harassed by their superiors or colleagues, such as by conducting training courses for superiors or setting up consultation services.

Current legislation bans firms from demoting or forcing women to quit their jobs due to pregnancy, childbirth or for taking maternity leave, but does not include steps to protect women from facing harassment from their superiors and colleagues.

Women’s empowerment is one of the pillars of the economic growth strategy currently espoused by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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