Gender gaps remain significant in Japan as traditional roles for men and women are strongly reinforced in society and through mass media, leaving many women accustomed to restrictive norms and limited opportunities, a senior U.N. official has said.

"There is nothing you can't do because you're a woman. It's important to make an effort, believing you can do anything," Izumi Nakamitsu, undersecretary-general and high representative for disarmament affairs, said in a recent interview.

Nakamitsu, the highest-ranking Japanese at the United Nations, said the roles of men and women are modeled to the public in various ways including through popular media.