How many years must we wait until Japan becomes an ordinary country?

Last week, a Cabinet Office panel decided to abandon the government’s target of having 30 percent of leadership positions held by women by 2020. In a draft report released July 21 that was compiled for the Fifth Basic Policy for Gender Equality to be adopted later this year, the panel wrote that the government "will implement policies to achieve the 30 percent target at an earliest possible time in the 2020s."

The target had been championed by the government since it was approved in 2003. The goal was also widely perceived as an international pledge because it was included in the speech Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in 2014. The sheer fact that the government failed to meet the target after 17 years of calling for women's empowerment is deeply regrettable.