As we start the new Reiwa Era, I want to come back to a recurring question: "Will Japan become a truly diverse and inclusive society?" Here I would like to focus on work-related aspects of the issue, rather than society at large.

With the enthronement of the new emperor, I hear two contrasting facts. One is that Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako are both cosmopolitan since they were educated overseas. The emperor spent two years at Oxford University where he earned his master's degree, while the empress, a former career diplomat, graduated from Harvard and spent some time at Oxford.

The other is that Empress Masako, along with other female members of the imperial family, was not allowed to attend a key official ceremony following the new emperor's ascension to the throne — which was portrayed in an overseas media report of the enthronement as an indication of women's status in traditional Japan.