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.

Yasuko Gotoh is among the first generation of women to enter Kasumigaseki, the Tokyo home of Japanese government bureaucracy.

She joined the then-Ministry of Transport, the predecessor to the current Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), with a law degree from the University of Tokyo in 1980. Joining five years before the enactment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, Gotoh was the first female career bureaucrat to be recruited by the ministry.