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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week held a ceremony to award certificates to seven Japanese companies that “lead the way in letting women shine.” But the fanfare heralded the uncomfortable fact that Abe’s promotion of “womenomics” — getting more women into leadership positions to boost Japan’s economy — is failing.

Abe’s own officials have conceded that the goal of women occupying 30 percent of management positions by 2020 is “not sufficiently shared by society as a whole,” and lowered targets for women in section-chief positions in the national bureaucracy from 30 percent — unrealistically high — to a lowly 7 percent. The target for companies has been lowered to 15 percent. Surely Japan can do better.

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