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Japan cuts female leader goal in blow to Abe’s ‘womenomics’

TOKYO — Japan has dramatically slashed its goal for raising the rate of women in government leadership positions, officials said today (Dec 4), in an apparent admission that its target was too ambitious.

Japan cuts female leader goal in blow to Abe’s ‘womenomics’

This combination of photos shows five women appointed for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet. Photo: AP

TOKYO — Japan has dramatically slashed its goal for raising the rate of women in government leadership positions, officials said today (Dec 4), in an apparent admission that its target was too ambitious.

Tokyo in 2003 set a goal of 30 per cent, with current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeatedly saying increasing the number of women in senior jobs both in the private and public sectors was key to his “Abenomics” growth blitz.

But yesterday, the government’s gender equality bureau slashed the target ratio to just seven per cent by 2021, from just 3.5 per cent now.

“It doesn’t mean that we gave up the goal of 30 per cent... but the new target reflects the most ambitious figure at this point,” Cabinet Office official Yosuke Konno told AFP today.

Most economists agree that the country badly needs to increase the role of women in government and the private sector to foster economic growth as the population rapidly ages.

However, a lack of childcare facilities, poor career support and deeply entrenched sexism are blamed for keeping women at home.

Mr Abe has been trying for three years to end deflation, kickstart growth and revitalise the world’s third-largest economy through a policy mix of massive central bank monetary easing, government spending and structural reforms.

The slashed target for senior positions in government is the latest setback for efforts to boost the role of women in society.

The government said in September that not a single Japanese company applied for a subsidy programme aimed at promoting more women to senior jobs.

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