This series explores topics surrounding women who began their careers in Japan following the implementation of equal opportunities employment legislation in the mid-1980s. With many now reaching the age of retirement, it is hoped their stories can provide insight and lessons for women in Japan's professional world today.

Imagine a vibrant 40-year-old woman suddenly forsaking a prestigious full-time job in Tokyo for “family reasons.” She is a rising star at a major IT consulting firm. She disappears for the next two years, immersed in nursing her ailing father in Nagasaki, 960 kilometers from the capital.

Only after her father’s death does she resurface, later assuming the top position at the company she had left at the age of 47 — earlier than the average age of 58.5 for CEOs of listed companies in Japan.