politics

Abe says women are key to Japan's economic revival

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Well, well, well. Imagine all the conservative, suited salarymen who voted for Mr Abe choking on their Tonkotsu Ramen as they hear this. Women? WOMEN?!

Good man, Mr Abe.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I thought it was Abe and Kuroda who were to revive j-economy.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Better women than immigrants, eh?

11 ( +21 / -9 )

"Since his December election victory Abe has surprised many with an economic pragmatism that has borne fruit, reversing his image as an out-of-touch nationalist from a political family."

Good for him. Maybe he's changed or he's just getting good advice. Either way, he's shaking things up.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

I thought inflation was the key... no?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This sounds very promising but is he really going to follow through on this?

It sounds great coming about 8 weeks before the elections.

I hope he's being Honest Abe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Companies In Japan pay men a higher salary if their wives stay home. Women who restart as part-timers can only earn a limited amount of money. These are rules that were developed during the seventies and they have barely changed since then. Nowadays they keep women from trying to restart a career.

The work force is shrinking Japan and they not very open to immigration from neighboring countries. Japan could actually improve by making immigration easier for qualified College and University graduates with certain degrees from foreign countries. However, your talking about Japan where discrimination is deeply engrained into institutions.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I guess he has realized that, the lowly position of women in Japanese society and the lower salary rate will allow Japanese companies to manipulate, bully and rip-off women in the workplace, thus creating greater profits for companies. It seems quite fitting that the Japanese economy was built on scab labor and now Abe is looking to reintroduce it to resurrect the economy. SOP in Japan.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Finally - about time too!!

This country is over-run with women who, upon getting married, abandon their education (often as doctors, nurses, teachers dentists, academics, or other highly paid and in-demand professions) to stay home and raise children, often never returning to their original field of work.

Even if a woman wants to stay home and dedicate herself to childrearing (which is also a respectable choice in itself) when the time comes that they can return to work full or part time (ie when taro is in school) they have been out of the work force so long and are out of touch with current training, and find it hard to get anything other than a low paid part time job.

Now all we need is some childcare places so those women can actually go back to work ...

11 ( +12 / -1 )

This sure sounds like sensible words but I would wait a while with the cheering. Abe should, if he indeed is Honest Abe, start by appointing some women to prominent positions in his cabinet to show that he really means business. Many other countries have taken this step and it is a good way of showing they are serious about employing everywhere.

On the other hand, many women I've talked to seem to be contet with working less and living off their husbands money. I think it's good for the country if this changes and everybody can work (and get equal pay) if they want to.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This article has failed to address the fact that most manual labor industry has hired more women because they are cheaper to hire. This trend is not new. What is new is the reliability of the "sarariman" and wages that has dropped so bad that stay home mom is not an option anymore, for a good portion of the population.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Better women than immigrants, eh?

because there are no female immigrants?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Abe wants women to step up and help? Fine. Get rid of that damn 1.3 million cap, stop paying men more when they have a wife staying home, stop giving crazy tax breaks to families of SAHW... When women have all of those taken away from them, they'll start demanding to be paid what they are worth - and will save us, the taxpayers, millions.

Start offering incentives to companies to have day cares AT the company so either mom OR dad can spend lunch with their kids, start fining companies who refuse to give mat and pat leave. Stop allowing companies to promote on time served rather than work - which is why so many men refuse to take pat leave. DEMAND that women be given mat leave like they are legally entitled to. Stand by the laws you have on the books. Stop allowing society to think raising kids is a moms job and dad brings home the bacon. Stop allowing companies to get away with not paying for overtime, stop allowing companies to bully dads who want to go home and spend time with their kids. So many things that are easy to do but have been ignored.

I'm glad he's realised this is an issues but I can't help but feel this is the usual "we'll help. we're doing something" but nothing gets done.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Is there no end to this charlatan's poison-pill populism?

Heaping praise on women sure looks good on the surface, but what is Abe's ultimate goal? Abe wants more women in the workforce because they (1) would then pay taxes to the government rather than supporting their families at home, and (2) will raise household incomes and make the inflation that he wants to foist on the public more bearable -- at a terrible expense to society. Having both spouses outside the home also means children will be sending more time in day care centers and other government facilities rather than in the care of their loving parents.

The younger generations in the West are rediscovering the benefits of having one parent stay home -- but unlike in the '50s, this time around only the richest segment of society can afford it.

But he also knows that it's political suicide to oppose anything that looks like it's pro-female. So he'll get what he wants: both parents slaving away at the kaisha all day long to pay for a collapsing currency, an ever-rising cost of living, and a skyrocketing government debt. Don't be fooled, women of Japan. This snake isn't thinking about your interests at all.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Japan has the lowest percentage of women in management positions of any industrialized nation. This isn't just about married women with childen looking to increase the family's income by entering or staying in the workforce, it is about opportunity in general, and in Japan, there are few opportunities for women. In America women make up 40% of managers, in China more than 20% are managers, in modern Japan, only 9% of managers are women.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Finally, after many years of international pressure (and some minor domestic) the Japanese government has publicly accepted their failure to utilise women in the work-force.

Why is it change in Japan, especially human-rights improvements, tend to only be a result of outside pressure?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The more people Abe can get into Gainfull Employment.It will help Japan With Its Finance woes . It is a great idear as More workers, More Tax income for running Japan. This one Thing Abe is Right on the Ball with.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

With Japan not even in the top100 nations in terms of gender equality there is certainly some room for improvement.

So come on Abe, put your money where your mouth is!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Wow! Tmarie is on fire today! Well said!

Just one point though, "Stop allowing society to think raising kids is a moms job" - Unfortunately, many believe it is the job of the school to bring up their kids. Mum's job is to stash the cash and make 'kowaii' bento lunches.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

can anyone tell me where all these jobs will come from? Of course more people in the workplace means lower wages, more taxepayers and also less savings and more personal debt.

This happened in the west when this agenda was pushed by the corporations. This would not benefit the average Japanese. The end result would be a country that resembles Europe or the US in 2 to 3 decades.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The current childcare is dreadful, with places nearly impossible to get in many metro areas even for women who are ready and willing to go to work. It would be one of the easiest, cost-effective, and most successful of possible reforms. Fund training for childcare and early-childhood education workers; build facilities, provide subsidies to employers. Every would benefit and perhaps the threat of demographic contraction will be postponed for another decade or two.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Women here could shut down Japan if they asserted themselves and demanded equality.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

can anyone tell me where all these jobs will come from? Of course more people in the workplace means lower wages, more taxepayers and also less savings and more personal debt.

Well personally, I think the jobs should come from the very top. The guys who have been at companies for absolutely donkeys years, and have been promoted up to the top, despite being (usually) absolutely crap and doing nothing, except not leaving the company for 35 years.

Take away these old mens insanely high salary, and ridiculously high bonuses, and there would be plenty of opportunities for the younger people in this country to both make good, liveable salaries to support themselves and their family (and I am NOT just talking about women here.)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

IMHO this is definitely a step that Japan must take (among others). But even if bold and sustained politic actions are taken to support it, implementing such a societal paradigm shift will take at least one generation if not more. As it has been in other countries who started earlier.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

All talk little action. The decades old culture of "hardworking" men zangyou-ing until last train is not going to be seen as "unproductive" anytime soon. The number of women with children willing or can afford to zangyou until 9pm is, I bet, not many. So, the superbly efficient Japanese management will still see women who do productive work in less time as less valuable than men who do the same amount of work until last train.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's true. Only women having more children and raising up the next generation of Japanese will save the country.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Indeed this is mostly all talk and will only happen if the elite think it will benefit them. There is no interest in the average peron except to get their votes. I don't want to see Japan turn into my home country ith social disorder, huge gaps between rich and poor and massive personal debt. We should all encourage equality in the workplace at all times. However there is no lack of workers in Japan, there is in fact unemployment. Nothing wrong with making sure women are treated equally in all aspects but making it the norm to make more consumers is a terrible thing.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yeah. That's right......send the kids to child care...it's worked so well in America. Kuroda-ing the family.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

To buy more shorter mini skirts, brand bags, and cosmetics to raise the economy!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and to open more body-shops of school girls in Harajuku etc.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

More lip service from Mr. Abe. How about some concrete legislation on the matter?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Respect your women, and educate them. Let them do jobs that give them satisfaction and dignity. Making beautiful bentos for the family is pleasant but it is tiring too; entertainment industry jobs are not that easy, tiring too (maintaining your physical beauty and health and mental sanity is not easy), office ladies serving tea and doing meanial jobs is not easy either. I am into sales and it is not that easy either. But I try to find satisfaction by acheiving my self- set target, and doing innovative things. My colleagues, who are Japanese often say that they wish they could do sales too. But their education level, language skills and working style which they learnt from their seniors seem to be a barrier towards climbing the ladder.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yeah. That's right......send the kids to child care...it's worked so well in America. Kuroda-ing the family.

Why do you assume that "sending the kids to child care" is the aim of this? I don't think it is, at ALL. Quite the opposite actually.

The problem with this country (and the housewife culture within it) is that even when children are not "babies" anymore (ie in Elementary, middle, high school, University and often beyond) the women don't go back to work, and stay home, making bento and cleaning and laundering for their often adult offspring instead. Often they prefer a "housewife who lunch" culture instead, leading the husbands to work until they drop, while the wives do very little, at the expense of their husband.

I totally support women with small children (Ie - under kindergarten or even until elementary school) staying at home to raise them, if they want to, however the problem is that they never go back again once they stop working to get married and have children. At best they will get a little part time job in a supermarket or something, despite their current education (often of University level) And that is an incredibly sad waste of resources.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

tmarie and kimuzukashiiiii have called a spade a spade.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

He is making all the right noises but the attainment of woman rights within a such patriarchal society cannot simply be given by a government composed of men. Every society has to go through it's own growing pains and social evolution to attain these rights and that means Japanese women are going to have to stand up, protest and demand equality. To my thinking Japanese women are far stronger than their male counterparts both mentally and spiritually and for that reason alone the men will continue to keep a foot on their throat. Men are frightened of women, that's why they keep them down. Equality is not for Abe San to give but rather for Japanese women to take and they will take it when they are ready. I think that many of us from western countries are somewhat sanctimonious when we point out the inequalities between men and women in Japan, let's face it we are not that much better and any progress we have made has been comparatively recently. In fact in some areas we are behind a lot of Asian societies in terms of sex equality.

On a side note I think it really is a symptom of the sickness that pervades our societies (this includes all of us) when a politician can refer to us as 'human resources that....failed to make best use of.' There isn't really much hope of making any sort of progress when we don't bat an eyelid at phrases like this. Perhaps, we should start thinking about what we can contribute to the well-being of those around us and not reduce everyone to a 'resource' that is waiting to be sucked dry and used.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I would also like to say that I come across many Japanese women in my daily life and they are on the whole (obviously with some exceptions) some of the kindest, most considerate and thoughtful people that I have ever met in any country. On the other hand, many of the men.....I'll leave you all to finish the sentence.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The truth hurts sometimes...some never get over it...sigh.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

at last, something Abe is saying that i can wholeheartedly agree with! this came as quite a shock though, there are instances of Abe making sexist comments in the past...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The more workers in the workplaces provided by new Female bosses, With new Idear,s that Include equal opportunity more money goes into the community and supports secondary jobs like Child care etc. by the need of people to care for the working families children . Have to start somewhere to get back on top of exports .

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This Abe person is more ignorant than i thought. I am starting to feel sorry for the Japanese people.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Tmarie,

brilliant post, hope abe is reading here!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

abe,

all this is fine & dandy, but I will wait until I get to see a little action as talk is incredibly cheap in Japan!

The only way things will improve for Japan & Japanese is if the see an increase in quality of life, abe I dare you to make a law so that all office/factories need to send workers home after being 8hrs at work, IF any overtime IT MUST BE PAID IN FULL!

Bottom line if Japan only gets more women into the workforce doing the same hell as salarymen............then this country WILL DIE.

There needs to be some pretty serious improvements in peoples lives if Japan wants to get back on track! But do Japanese really want that..............that is the question

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I hate to have to tell you this, but the women of Japan are extremely lazy, and will do anything to avoid putting in a hard day's work.

This new policy sounds like a desperate last-ditch attempt to stave off the unthinkable: allowing mass immigration. It seems that the govt. has decided to try and convince lazy Japanese housewives to get off their butts and actually earn their keep. Good luck with that one!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Most companies don't want to hire women because they know they are going to get married, pregnant, and leave. Until there is some law that prevents companies from releasing their female employees when this happens, this just talk.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Considering the mess he and many, many previous prime ministers have made, it's a safe better that a woman could do a better job.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's the first smart thing Mr Abe has said regarding women and the economy. Still Abenomics isn't going to work, and the confidence placed in it is misplaced, and foolish.

Mr Abe needs to spend less money, and cut taxes for indviduals, families, and business. Encourage more entrepreneurship, and foreign investment.

Deficit spending and tax increases do nothing for economic growth.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Having both spouses outside the home also means children will be sending more time in day care centers and other government facilities rather than in the care of their loving parents.

That might actually be a good thing! The more they socialize as young children and the less time they spend with mommy might actually help improve the social skills and confidence of this population that will result in possibly more children being born!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As I said...Anyway many good comments here. I wonder what the ral motivation is from the LDP, though...I doubt a change of heart.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's great news! I've always thought about the waste of talent in this country every time I go to a hostess club; there must be 100,000 women in Tokyo alone working in these places, growing up with no skill set whatsoever and a very bleak future if they don't snag a well-off man.

This is a very good step in the right direction, and women will have really raise their game to achieve a critical mass of support among men.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I am sure I hear all this at least once a year by every politician. And good quote, "Short on detail! "

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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