Japanese experts have proposed that the government look into concerns that gender wage gaps may be behind the outflows of young women from rural areas in the country.

Members of a project team on the promotion of women's active engagement in professional life, chaired by Wakako Yata, special adviser to the prime minister, proposed at a meeting Monday that the government enhance the collection of data on gender wage gaps in rural regions and at small businesses to gain a better understanding of the situation.

The government will consider concrete measures regarding such data compilation, which are set to be reflected in its annual economic and fiscal policy guidelines to be put together next month.

It has been pointed out that wider gender wage gaps in rural areas compared with those in large cities may be spurring the outflows.

Miwa Koyasu, chief of research and advisory firm Will Lab, said at the meeting that "the understanding and commitment of local leaders" are key to rectifying gender wage disparities in rural regions and at small businesses.

Koyasu said that data on wage gaps should be "collected with high clarity so that local people can get serious" in tackling the issue, such as by releasing a disparity index for regional comparisons.

According to the Cabinet Secretariat, the gender wage gaps are narrow in the Tokyo metropolitan area, where women's wages are comparatively high. Meanwhile, wage gaps tend to be wider in regions where the proportion of unmarried men is high due to outflows of women.

Experts also said at the meeting that local governments need to make wage gap rectification part of regional revitalization efforts in order to stem outflows of women.