Measures to accelerate women’s advancement in Japanese society

August 22 , 2017

In this article, we would like to introduce a number of Komeito initiatives supporting child rearing and nursing that were included in the Japanese government’s 2017 action plan that aims to accelerate women’s participation in the workplace and all fields in society.

First, eliminating the waiting list for parents seeking to enlist their dependents in nursery schools is a vital step in promoting this goal. To do so, measures will be taken to expand the number of nursery schools by improving employment incentives for day care workers, establishing company-sponsored nursery school facilities on business premises, and not only making it permissible but also facilitating the construction of such facilities in municipal park grounds.

Many women are placed in the role of being “double care” providers, where they must care for both children and the elderly at the same time. To prevent a decrease in the nursing sector, initiatives are under way to enable some 120,000 more people to receive care through nursing homes and home health care services by the start of the 2020’s. Measures will be taken to improve employment conditions for health care workers and increase their supply by some 500,0000.

A liquid form of infant milk that does not need hot water to prepare and used in times of disasters is recently gaining traction with the public. During the Great East Japan Earthquake and Kumamoto Earthquake, the Finland-based product was sent to the disaster stricken areas and came to great use. Although this liquid baby formula cannot yet be produced or sold in Japan due to legal restrictions, the government will hasten to make the product available through such efforts as setting standards enabling it to be in compliance with the Food Sanitation Act.

In addition to their married names, women will now be able to register their maiden names on their passports if they so desire. Currently, they must attach an official list of achievements recognized under their maiden name together with the application form to do so, but this will no longer be made necessary from 2019.

Though laws have already been passed to allow the inclusion of maiden names on other forms of identification such as the residence card and My Number ID—the Japanese version of the U.S. social security number—amendments to relevant laws and regulations and system upgrades will be made to ensure smooth processing from 2018. Further efforts will also be made to enable maiden names to be used on bank accounts.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami clarified the need for women’s perspectives to be incorporated in the planning and decision making process of disaster risk reduction and recovery measures. Komeito is committed to enhancing gender equality in disaster risk reduction though fostering women leaders who can respond to disasters and facilitating the exchange of information through holding seminars and symposiums.