Japan seeks revamp of old-fashioned labor practices

Japan seeks revamp of old-fashioned labor practices

TOKYO Kyodo has called for a revamp of old-fashioned labor practices, taxation and social security systems that have left the nation's gender gap largely intact for years, taking issue with the stereotypical roles expected of men and women.

A policy blueprint to promote women's economic empowerment states that the belief that marriage guarantees women economic stability for the rest of their life is a thing of the past as more women choose to get divorced and live longer than before.

The government plans to make it mandatory for firms with 300 or more employees to release gender pay gap data, and help women in acquiring digital skills and finding a job by setting a three-year intensive period.

It will look at the existing tax and social security systems to better reflect the needs of working women.

Japan lags behind other nations in ensuring gender equality, ranking it 120th among 156 nations in the World Economic Forum gender gap report released in March 2021, due to the low percentage of women in managerial positions or female lawmakers.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a government panel meeting that they place female economic empowerment at the centre of their new form of capitalism and will boldly implement measures to raise women's pay.

Kishida hopes to ensure a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution under what he calls a new form of capitalism. He wants companies to raise wages more aggressively to reward workers and support domestic demand.

The new policy blueprint states that there needs to be changed from the old mentality that helped support the social systems throughout the country's rapid economic growth decades ago - that men should work and women should stay home and do the housework.

Experts believe that the government will have to face the daunting task of changing how people think and act because it will require long-term policy vision and financial support.

The government said that it needs to make it easier for men to take paternity leave and work from home.

Japan is one of the world's fastest aging societies and faces labor shortages. In recent years, more women have entered the workforce, although many tend to work part-time.