As pandemic restrictions are slowly peeled away and the pickup in tourism boosts a demand for workers, female job-seekers — who make up the bulk of part-time and irregular employment in Japan — will likely welcome the news.

But academics say that rather than returning to a post-pandemic norm, the gender inequality that created the imbalance must be addressed.

Womenomics, a policy spearheaded by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is often credited with boosting female representation in the workforce, but 53.6% of these jobs were irregular, lower paid and lacking employment benefits and protections last year.