National / Politics

Government and firms in Japan will have to show how they are fighting sexual harassment under revised law, sources say

JIJI

Central and local governments as well as private-sector firms will be required to document the ways they are fighting sexual harassment in their annual action plans on women’s empowerment, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

The new requirement will be included in a bill to revise the law aimed at creating environments where women can fully use their abilities, the sources said Monday. The compilation of such actions plans are currently based on an existing but temporary law put into force in April 2016 with a lifespan of 10 years.

The government apparently plans to submit the amendment to the ordinary Diet session, which is set to start on Jan. 28, and hopes to implement the new measure during fiscal 2019, which starts in April.

Based on discussions with local government heads and academics, the government is said to have examined the situation since the law’s enforcement and found it necessary to overhaul the content of the action plans, in order to improve workplaces for women.

On sexual harassment, the annual action plans currently cover how companies and the central and local governments deal with such complaints.

The government is now planning to require them to additionally report in the plans their progress in compiling manuals on tackling sexual harassment and implementing related training programs, the sources said.

The government also plans to expand the reach of the action plans by broadening the scope of companies required to compile them, lowering the size threshold from firms with 301 or more staff to those with 101 or more, the sources said.

With a view to helping women gain opportunities to work in a wider variety of positions, the government plans to require the proportion of women in each position to be reported, in addition to the rate of growth in the number of women in each position, the sources said.

On work-style reform, the government will call for both the proportion of workers exceeding the limit on overtime hours to be reported and the average overtime hours per worker to be reported, with the aim of correcting long working hours across workplaces.