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Japan hosts women-focused conference amid economy push

28 August 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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AFP - Japan yesterday kicked off the “World Assembly for Women” conference, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledging to shake up a corporate culture at home that discriminates against female workers. Tokyo plays host to the two-day international conference with Liberian President and Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Marillyn Hewson, chief executive of US defence and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, among the speakers. Since sweeping to power in late 2012 on a ticket to kick start Japan’s flagging economy, Abe has vowed to push for women to get more senior roles in politics and business as one of the pillars of his Abenomics growth blitz. “Abenomics is ‘Womenomics,’” Abe told the forum.

“True reform will not come about unless we have more women becoming leaders in their organisations, in addition to changes in men’s consciousness.”
During his speech, Abe also lambasted the country’s corporate culture that endorsed “male-centred long working hours”. He added that Japan needed to overhaul its work culture so that couples will be able to “share responsibility for household chores and child rearing”.
“We will make this the ordinary practice in Japan,” said the prime minister, without specifying how he planned to make such changes a reality. The conference began just hours after a series of weak inflation and household spending figures underscored Japan’s wobbly economic recovery and the challenges to Abe’s efforts to conquer years of deflation and laggard growth.

While Abe has pushed forward plans for big government spending and massive Central Bank easing, ushering in promised reforms to Japan’s highly regulated economy has proven to be tougher.
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