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IMF chief urges revamp of Japan's economic policy, more women in workforce

53 Comments
By Kazuhiro Nogi

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They are all in non secure part time work with low wages and no benefits.

Yes, and then they go home to cook, clean and shop because their husbands are working 3 hours of unpaid overtime every evening. Abenomics is a chimera, it doesn't exist. Surely Ms. Lagarde can understand it's just a scam, like this 2% inflation nonsense, which only exists to reduce the Japanese govt debt.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

There are plenty of women in the workforce. They are all in non secure part time work with low wages and no benefits.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Shesh Abe at least fake looking interested.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Abe's response : "I won my third term, so... whatever."

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Wages given to women are totally different from men. For example, a factory worker man earns 1000 yen per hour, his woman counterpart is 850 yen only.

When you go to a dentist/gynecologist, doctors are men, assistants and clerks are women.

Does it mean that the women in Japan have lower dreams? Of course not. They are not just given the opportunity.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Christine Lagarde called for a "fresh look" at "Abenomics",

Translation: Christine Lagarde called "Abenomics" a joke (which is what we've been saying for years)

Shesh Abe at least fake looking interested.

He doesn't like being talked down to by a woman. About time, I think.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Shesh Abe at least fake looking interested.

He doesn't like being talked down to by a woman. About time, I think.

Precisely Aly.

The basic principles in our view are still valid but need to be broadened, sustained and accelerated," said Lagarde.

Meaning...where the heck is that BS third arrow Shinzo?

a ratio of 10.1 percent that puts Japan behind Myanmar and Gambia in terms of female government representation, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

How embarassing.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

In the picture above, Abe: "yes, we agree with you"

Translate: aren't you done yet?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Japanese people's response to logical arguments: But this is Japan!

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Christine Lagarde called for a "fresh look" at "Abenomics",

Japan needs more than a 'fresh look' at abenomics, it needs a major structural (& cultural) change. Motherhood or not, many J men simply do not want to be led by women nor work alongside them at management level i.e. they think women are less capable of doing the job. Look at Abe's cabinet reshuffle, 1 out 25! And we are talking about J female pollies in their late 40s, 50s or 60s i.e. not 'potential' mums in their 20s & 30s.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

@Maria - I am not disagreeing with your post. My dentist in Tokyo is a woman. I would not go to any other dentist as she is probably the best I have been to. She is doing very well and has numerous Japanese and foreign clients.

Equal wages are absolutely necessary for workers of equal skill and ability.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I think we all know that nothing is going to change.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Notice Lagarde's power pose in the photo above. Then look over at Abe ...

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Sorry to say but, as long as the blue blood cronies are running the show, nothing is going to change.  If anything, as they get older, things will start and have started to regress.  As demonstrated by Abe's reshuffle.

S

7 ( +8 / -1 )

When you go to a dentist/gynecologist, doctors are men, assistants and clerks are women.

I have never met a dentist/gynecologist before. What a combination.

Seriously though, there are more and more of both, females that is, coming into their own here in Japan recently. Look around they are increasing in numbers but they are still too low.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He definitely doesn't like being given advice from a woman.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

more theatre..... nice Japan-jaunt for Ms. Lagarde though.....

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The only tangible recommendation the article mentions from Legarde is related to women in the workforce. Her other observations are only re-iterating facts that most people are aware of. While I agree with many posters that the current government's policies have fallen short (i.e. with wages) and I also agree women should be treated equally in the work force, Legarde did not offer much with any concrete solutions or suggestions (according to what is written in this article). Perhaps the powerful economic minds of the Japan Today posters on this website can provide the answers. In all seriousness, I think everyone should agree wages are an issue.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The IMF can ‘urge’ all they like, but nothing is going to change in Japan until they address the child care shortage in big cities and salary equality. I fear it will be a cold day in hell before both of these happen.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Abe's face be like "naaaaaah".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The picture is quite telling.

I think Abe's dialogue would have been something like: "More women. OK. Thanks, that's cute. Thank you for telling me all about equality. I didn't know (Japanese style capitulation). I will form a panel to discuss the issue. Have a nice day."

Expecting Japan to evolve from its discriminatory ways is like expecting water from a stone. They can't even see the many miscarriages of human rights that everyday life here. Bullying is regular tender during dealings with people, as is government-sanctioned discrimination.

What is the UN going to do about? Nothing.

Energies are better spent elsewhere.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This is silly. For my company, I just want the best person for the job. Their gender isn't my concern. Bring good things to the team and help us be successful.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Men and women have on average different interests and aptitudes. So equality of outcome will probably never be achieved if we have equality of opportunity. We should never force equality of outcome; that is not a good thing. All we should do is aim for equality of opportunity.

I agree with this. But women do have a great aptitude and ability to be politicians, for one. That can change overnight (essentially). But what changes have we seen to date?

As the LDP essentially sits at the top of the nation, steering the boat, they should be disappointed with their own example that they set.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Neither one of these criminals can be trusted!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Abenomics is helping the companies combined with Bank of Japan system and the companies to pay taxations to have Japan economy much stable. The big lack is that the companies never give the wages up and want more and more cheaper labors including a lot of women. Christine Lagarde suggested more women politicians in Japan but it won't resolve companies to support family lives most are contracted or part-time jobs what they offer. Abenomics still help the companies and the citizens to bear the circumstances of his policy. How to have a big family of 4-5 or more children to resolve the shrink of population and young generations to do care services the aged generations with proper wages, one of the hardest job of miserable wages?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In Japan, just don’t be a woman,...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

 They are all in non secure part time work with low wages and no benefits.

School teachers, college and university teachers, local and national government civil servants, typically have good wages and generous benefits.

Japan has a relatively high rate of part time employment, partially because many older people work past the nominal retirement age. However, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, and Britain have higher part time rates than Japan.

The important figure in terms of part time employment is “involuntary part time employment.” Japan is not notably high in terms of “involuntary part time employment.” Surveys of those with part time employment show that 70% of the men and 80% of the women do not want full time employment.

Part time is not necessarily bad. My wife was offered a full time regular position. She declined after carefully comparing expected salary and benefits. For a small increase in salary, she would be giving the company full control over her time and would be precluded from taking quite lucrative outside jobs that come her way.

My own last job before retirement was fixed-term part time with no renewal possible. The pay and benefits exceeded what is the norm for regular jobs of the same type in the US and the UK.

Roughly one in five medical doctors in Japan are women. My own personal doctor of nearly twenty years is a woman. Women seem to specialise in fields such as paediatrics and ophthalmology so you may not encounter one but they are certainly there. So too far dentistry. If you look at the signs for dental clinics specialising in dentistry. for children, you will often see a recognizably female name.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Side issue question from an economic illiterate: why would they want to raise inflation above 2%? Simply to try to attract investment / raise interest rates? Or is there more at work there? (My impression was always that governments attempted to get inflation as low as possible... apparently not).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I heard that there is not enough childcare centers that allow more women (mums) to get into the workforce.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know plenty of women whose only interest is to go shopping spending parents' money. Not in making their own money and create a family.

Who wants to force them to do politics and become engineers ?

On the opposite side, women with competences and will to work are barred from management position by oyajis.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Another problem is that, if the LDP want to appeal as though they are all progressive to win some votes, they will simply stuff a few women who are outright, far right yes-women into the ranks - as they do now, but only with a few more warm seats.

These women would tacitly know that 'they ought to be extremely grateful to their fearless leaders' and would know to not 'embarrass' all women by rocking the boat (with commonsense).

In short, even if the LDP suddenly decided to catch up with the free world, they would only have puppet-women in there regurgitating the party lines, and not doing anything of use.

Damned if you do...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One more thing to comment here, Japan politics world is the same of 150 years ago, where the Shogunate is the dominant from that feudal era of Edo period. Lawmakers(samurais) classified to be the top rank who is very obedient to Shogun and down ranks are who are against. Well, as this system still is stagnated from decades and a century ago, how can women politicians confront this males tradition, time always will tell and it will need time to sound and smell.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The gender pay gap is BS. A woman counterpart, doing the same work, will get the same pay.

Nope, I know this first hand.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Globalist IMF agenda is total control over sheepish masses for whom they care very little about.

1: Undermine the nuclear family. It is the primary threat to the coming global state

Replace natural parents with the state (through schools and enforced curriculums) as the primary carers and influencers of children.

The notion that at home mothers are 'not working' is false. They are working, doing the most difficult and noble job in the world, nurturing the next generation of productive citizens.

The choice to engage in paid employment and if so, how much, is a personal choice that women make in partnership with thier husbands according to thier private goals and one that will shape the lives of thier children profoundly. Do we really want to cede the shaping of our kid's lives to the govt and others from the nursery on while both parents are in full time paid employment? While economically beneficial it might not be best for the children to deprive them of nurturing by thier mother during the vital infant years.

Prime Minister Abe should politely nod and then ignore her. Let women themselves make these decisions. It seems most women prefer to 'stay at home with the kids' anyway.

It's a broad and complicated subject. But I've offered at least some food for thought. Let the discussion continue.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

While I've made the case for women remaining at home with young children especially, I would like to see equal representation in Parliament if possible.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

More women working less babies being produced. Forget what the IMF says, take a look at Western Countries as more and more women entered the workforce less kids were being produced - forget child care places, forget baby bonuses, paid parental leave the west has tried them all none have worked.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The gender pay gap is BS. A woman counterpart, doing the same work, will get the same pay.

Nope, I know this first hand.

If that were true, it would be stupid to ever hire a man because you can hire a woman to do the same work for much cheaper.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Simply IMF which is a financial organization have NO RIGHT or the AUTHORITY to tell any country including Japan what that country's social policy must be. Just as they have no right or authority to tell any country what that country's financial and economic policy must be. They are indeed an advisory organization trying to protect the investments they make as loans to countries. Japan is a major "contributor" and not a receiver of such funds. This only indicates that IMF is becoming a political and social activist organization trying to control its members' society.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Look at the market how many products are universally sold only for women, and see how many women are doing business for them. Checking the points more business for women will come. Unfortunately the social vision in Japan is much male position to attend women customers (mathematically?), 20-30 years later perhaps it will change, politicians also will change when more women politicians have more power and when at that time Abe is resigned or in the grave.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kazetsukai:

“This only indicates that IMF is becoming a political and social activist organization trying to control its members' society”’

I see. So, you’re opposed to that, but you’re entirely OK with the push for conformity and maintaining the status quo and protecting those whose interests would be threatened if the barriers hindering women were dismantled.

Opposing greater female equality of opportunity and indeed insisting on workplaces as bastions of male bonding is a no brainer for all those who wish to defend the evil of service overtime. Conversely, supporting women in the workplace identifies you as someone who is opposed to the ideology of workplaces as surrogate boot camps.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

She epitomizes global elite and just spouts the same old slogans.  Actually what Japan needs is more women knocking out kids.  Not being co=opted into crummy jobs.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Matt, I fully agree. But one of the problems with the left is they dont know when to stop.

"Progressives" just keep pushing, dreaming and "welcoming". Hence the insanity in the name of PC and "progress" that has driven many of us away from leftist politics.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Matt - agree however I would like to add that it could be the woman working and the man taking care of the child. The issue in Japan is not who is working but wage stagnation.

I think success would see a more diverse workforce (within reason) and higher wages. Abe has succeeded at neither.

Legarde is a lifetime politician/lawyer and a globalist. I do not think the IMF should be telling others how to run things until they close the book on their own scandals and problems.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

"as the world's third-biggest economy battles stubborn low inflation"

I wish they wouldn't battle the low inflation. I like how the low inflation continues to be stubborn, though I see the price of many things I buy has increased...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I recall an article last week that 70% of women were working. Might be low paying jobs but that's a different problem. One of education opportunities and then employment. It's a tough nut to crack in all societies, including the EU.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Having said that, there cannot be a quota or a mathematical equilibrium in what sex is or must take certain roles or levels of roles in any society in any political or business organizations and institutions regardless of being a public organization. The entire selection process depends on aptitude, ability, and attitude besides the physical and mental qualifications in light of the corporate culture and environment.

The only argument is in "representation" of and the ability of being heard as a group within any organization. This case assumes that only women knows everything about the role and value and ability of women and must be equally or substantially represented by "numbers" to assure that.

One must remember that each society has a culture and a structure with a system that was best suited for its survival. No society has the exact same conditions and needs.

For Japan as with many other countries with reducing population, the male female roles have changed, but the structure and system still relies on motherly care for children. It is not easy to just require female participation in business and in work environments just for economic reasons.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

This is silly. For my company, I just want the best person for the job. Their gender isn't my concern. Bring good things to the team and help us be successful.

If you value your business, that should be your outlook but increasingly in the West and now Japan too it seems gender is absolutely critical. Its all a load of nonsense.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Wages given to women are totally different from men. For example, a factory worker man earns 1000 yen per hour, his woman counterpart is 850 yen only.

The gender pay gap is BS. A woman counterpart, doing the same work, will get the same pay.

When you go to a dentist/gynecologist, doctors are men, assistants and clerks are women.

Funny, my dentist is a woman. And since coming to Japan, I’ve been to 3 ophthalmologists, all were women. Other doctors were a mix, but generally the older doctors are men. You can’t expect the ratios to equalize overnight. Even if we only hired female doctors, it would take time to achieve equality of outcome.

I tend to agree with Matt. Men and women have on average different interests and aptitudes. So equality of outcome will probably never be achieved if we have equality of opportunity. We should never force equality of outcome; that is not a good thing. All we should do is aim for equality of opportunity.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I tend to agree with Matt. Men and women have on average different interests and aptitudes. So equality of outcome will probably never be achieved if we have equality of opportunity. We should never force equality of outcome; that is not a good thing. All we should do is aim for equality of opportunity.

We see the evidence of different interests and aptitudes around us every day. And its both wonderful and necessary that men and women have different interests, aptitudes and personalities. Our societies could not function at the level they do and largely very successfully.

The desire for equality of outcome is walking the garden path towards communism. Its the flashing warning sign at the side of the road that everybody should notice, stop and turn back. We learnt in the 20th century that Communism is an absolute miserable failure that leads to absolutely miserable human lives and a vast pile of body bags to go with it.

We need to fight that element of leftism with every effort possible as an overreach that cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

Moves towards a more social democratic order of the type embraced by Scandinavian countries is reasonable as long as they stay within the bounds of what is reasonable which means upholding the principles of freedom, democracy and the sovereign individual in Western societies and to an extent societies like Japan which are heavily influenced by Western political democracy. It also means no attempt at socially engineering men to be something they aren't and never will be and women be something they aren't and never will be.

There can be no sovereign individuals under equality of outcome, so the latter must be absolutely smashed and opposed through every means, starting with non-violent means if those that embrace equality of outcome remain non-violent. But if there tactics change I am certainly prepared to change with it.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Is she even elected? This woman annoys me even more than Trump with his aphorisms.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

@Dirk T: Notice Lagarde's power pose in the photo above. Then look over at Abe ...

Except that Abe has real power and she is just a high paid administrator.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

agree however I would like to add that it could be the woman working and the man taking care of the child. 

Could work on a limited scale and with the population of elderly rising you will see more women in the workforce taking care of the elderly and more husbands staying at home, but fundamentally men are not engineered to be care givers like women are and I don't think it will ever change. Biology has chosen women to give birth and all indications from thousands of years of evolution is that women should be the predominant care givers to children. The best solution is for couples to have the flexibility in work practices that they can decide among themselves what gives them the best circumstances and the strongest chances to successfully raise children. The Japanese government needs to minimize the financial drain of having kids and maximize workplace flexibility for potential mothers and fathers to organize among themselves how they can best go about raising kids and boosting Japans birth rate.

Japans workplace culture needs to change radically.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Bad advice tbh. Best thing Abe could do is make it as easy as possible, financially, for women to commit to motherhood in a country that will not embrace significant immigration. Success would see less women in the workforce not more.

Although reality suggests Japan will be the first developed country in the modern era to experiment with steady state economics as a necessity. Should be interesting.

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

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