Japan's largest business lobby aims to have women occupying more than 30% of the executive positions at major companies by 2030, the latest sign that the private sector is gearing up to diversify the workforce to stay competitive.

The target, set by the Japan Business Federation in its growth strategy released earlier this month, is ambitious given that women made up only 5.2% of executives at all listed Japanese companies as of 2019, according to government data.

The low representation of women in corporate leadership roles is one factor contributing to Japan occupying the last place among major advanced economies in the World Economic Forum's gender-gap rankings. Last year, Japan stood 121st among 153 countries.