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Last Update : Monday, Jan 30, 2017

JapanGov Weekly

Cabinet Secretariat [Tuesday, January 24, 2017]

Reception for the Executive Program for Women Leaders

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the reception for the Executive Program for Women Leaders held in Tokyo.

The Prime Minister said in his address,

“Good evening, I imagine everyone enjoyed the program today. I want to also once again thank Professor Badaracco, Professor Moss, and Professor Takeuchi.

Earlier today I gave a policy speech in which I emphasized active participation by women.

Since the inauguration of my administration, I have aimed to create a Japan in which women can fully unleash their talents. How will that initiative spread throughout companies and society, and in what ways will it manifest? The goals and circumstances of each woman are wide-ranging.

Up to this point, the Government has been advancing initiatives such as measures to increase the capacity of childcare facilities, improve the employment conditions of childcare workers, and accept foreign nationals into Japan to support housework within National Strategic Special Zones. In addition, we hosted the international women’s conference, WAW!, with the participation of women who are active from all around the world. This week, in Viet Nam, I met one such woman, H.E. Mdm. Ngan, Chairwoman of National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

Over the past three years, the number of women working in Japan has increased by 1 million people. However, the truth of the matter is that there are many among those 1 million women who are irregular workers. Due to a variety of circumstances, many people choose irregular work. It is a fact that there is an unreasonable difference in the employment conditions of regular and irregular workers. We will steadily realize equal pay for equal work, and we will eliminate the term ‘irregular work’ from this country. We are putting effort into work style reform to that end.

There are still many issues that must be addressed. One of those is increasing the number of female officers at companies. Up until this point, we have implemented systematic measures that call on major corporations to make public the number and the proportion of female officers they have. It is now possible to see how many female officers any company has.

At the same time, we need to implement support measures. We received offers for cooperation from Dean Nohria and Professor Porter following their high appraisal of womenomics. Here in Japan as well, Professor Takeuchi put in a lot of hard work, which has made this seminar possible.

The number of female officers will continue to increase steadily, by which I mean, the number of officers will increase alongside an increase in the number of female managers. We are not aiming to achieve this as a social policy. This is all being done as part of economic policy. By achieving this, we believe that we will be able to realize further growth. Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. I am of the opinion that if it had been ‘Lehman Brothers and Sisters,’ it would not have gone bankrupt; it would not have failed.

Countries are similar to companies. Diversity will give rise to strength. Diversity will give rise to growth. I believe that it is all of you who will take charge of that diversity.

You will be aiming to be active on the global stage. It was my hope that you study top-level content under rigorous standards in your coursework as well. I think you all struggled with a lot of preparations each day.

Did you speak up during your classes? I have heard that there were active discussions. I have also heard that the capabilities of Japanese women are very high. This must be true since I heard this from professors who don’t normally offer praise. How did all of you feel about the reactions you received from the professors during the classes?

There is no doubt that the world’s top business leaders are honing their adaptation and practical skills through a mix of classes like these and on-the-job experience. If you feel that you did a good job in these classes, then you must already be at the level of a globally top-level manager. Since Japanese people are fairly humble, I imagine that many of you probably felt that you must study more. That is nothing to feel hesitant about. It is only natural to feel that way, as this was the first time you experienced a globally top-level class. The important thing is that you make use of that feeling as a springboard to further improve yourself.

Everyone will feel regret at least once in their lives. I have felt regret myself in the past. I am working hard now because I have used that feeling as a springboard.

It is exciting just imagining the day when all of you are promoted and become business leaders. Moreover, many women will see you and aim to become officers themselves and will be motivated to hone their skills and study. Through all of this, the number of female officers will multiply, and growth in Japan will increase by many times what it is right now. With that growth, tax revenues will increase, and we will be able to make further investments in this area.
Those investments will lead to further growth. All of it will truly lead to a positive economic cycle.

Those of you who will be the first graduating class of this program are sure to become a model for others, so your mission is extremely important. I would like to close my remarks by expressing my heartfelt hope that all of you succeed, so that you can advance your own career paths, and so that many other women can follow in your footsteps. I would also like to express how truly excited I am waiting for that day when you do all succeed. Let’s all work together. Congratulations.”

Cabinet Secretariat [Tuesday, January 24, 2017]

Council on National Strategic Special Zones

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 27th meeting of the Council on National Strategic Special Zones at the Prime Minister's Office.

During the meeting, debate took place on certifying the special zone plan, additional items for regulatory reform related to priority fields and issues, and other matters.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“A landmark project will be realized in Imabari City, which was designated a National Strategic Special Zone one year ago.

The three roadside stations along the Shimanami Kaido will be run comprehensively by the private sector. There, new services will be provided, including the provision of rest areas for bicyclists.

For the first time in 52 years, next year, a new school of veterinary medicine will be established. It will foster veterinarians who will develop new measures against infectious diseases and conduct leading-edge life science research. Through the school’s new curriculum and other initiatives, I expect that it will have a positive effect on universities and the entire education system as a whole. I want to express my respect once again to everyone working hard for this.

Today, we heard statements from Special Advisor to the Cabinet Sakaiya and Council member Hara on the acceptance of foreign nationals in consumer service sectors, such as fashion, the food and beverage industry, distribution, and Japanese inns.

Last week, while visiting countries such as the Philippines in Southeast Asia, I met young people who love cool Japan, and are passionately studying Japanese. I believe that these young people will indeed become bridges that link their home countries with Japan. I am confident that if they find work in Japan and directly communicate the charms of Japan to tourists from their countries, this would be of great value to both our country and their own, beyond just the economic value that it would produce. These young people love Japanese culture, are learning Japanese, and want to continue doing something related to Japan throughout their lifetime. I strongly felt that we must meet their expectations.

I want to make it possible to actively accept these highly motivated young people from Asia into Japan.

Many items for reform are included in the Bill for the Amendment of the National Strategic Special Zones Law to be submitted during this session of the Diet.”

MOFA [Friday, January 27, 2017]

Donation of the “Peace and Justice Bell” to the International Criminal Court (ICC)

1. On January 24, the unveiling ceremony of the “Peace and Justice Bell” took place at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands. The ceremony was attended by Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Netherlands, and Ms. Naoko Saiki, Director-General, International Legal Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, representing the Government of Japan. Also present at the ceremony were Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, ICC President, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor, and other officials from the ICC.

2. The donation has been made in response to the call by the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC Rome Statute to contribute to the permanent premises of the ICC in commemoration of its opening. The Government of Japan has donated the “Peace and Justice Bell” in support of the ICC’s resolution to enforce international justice and pursue peace through prosecuting and sentencing individuals who have committed the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.

3. The donation of the “Peace and Justice Bell” embodies Japan’s continuous support for the principles and activities of the ICC. The Government of Japan remains proactively committed to the activities of the ICC.