Japan has the largest gender pay gap in the G7, despite government efforts to address gender inequality.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to “work even harder” to tackle gender inequality, including one of the world’s worst gender pay gaps, in remarks to mark International Women’s Day.
Kishida said on Wednesday it was “necessary” for Japan to close the pay gap, hire more female executives and reverse the trend for women to take on lower paid contract work after giving birth.
“We will continue to review parts of our tax system that prevent women from entering the labor market and introduce systems where it is easier than ever for both men and women to take parental leave,” Kishida said in a video address.
In a separate press conference on Wednesday, cabinet chief Hirokazu Matsuno said more needed to be done, as Japanese women still find it “rather difficult” to balance work and domestic duties, despite some improvements in women’s working conditions.
Japan has the largest gender pay gap in the Group of Seven, with Japanese women earning on average about 75 percent as much as men for full-time work in 2020.
Despite efforts by successive Japanese governments to address gender inequality, Japan was ranked 116th out of 146 countries for gender equality in the World Economic Forum’s global report last year and 104th out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s latest report on women’s economic opportunities.
Last year, the Kishida government introduced rules requiring companies with 301 or more employees to disclose wage differences between male and female employees.
Tokyo last month announced proposals to overhaul the country’s sex crime laws, including raising the age of consent from 13 to 16, criminalizing the grooming of minors and broadening the definition of rape.
According to Tokyo Shoko Research, female CEOs lead less than 1 percent of companies on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, although the share of women in lower management positions has risen in recent years.
Only 45 of Japan’s 465 legislators are women. After elections last year, a record number of 64 women entered the 248-member upper house.