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Ten years have passed since the Diet enacted the Basic Law for a Gender-free Society. The law says that in view of a graying population and low birthrate, it is urgent to realize a society in which men and women respect each other’s rights and share responsibilities while giving full play to each person’s individuality and ability. It states that creating such a society will be the most important determinant of the shape of Japan in the 21st century.

The law has prompted enterprises and universities to write action programs to help men and women pursue both a career and family life. The past 10 years also have seen the percentage of municipalities with bylaws related to creation of a gender-free society increase from 0.5 percent to 21.9 percent.

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