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Research papers, case studies, situationer and other documents on Japanese women and their involvement in politics, governance and decision-making 

We must dare to move forward (2001)
Akiko Domoto serves in the Japanese House of Councilors, the upper house of Parliament. A former journalist, she is an Independent who was first elected to parliament 11 years ago. Ms. Domoto is also a WEDO board member. View the document from our server.

Japan: Steps in gender equality come too slowly for women (2001)
In 2001, Japan ranks 41st out of 70 countries surveyed last year using a method developed by the United Nations, called the Gender Empowerment Measure. The latest figure marked a decline from 1999, when Japan ranked 38th on the GEM index, an internationally recognized yardstick assessing women’s participation in society. Read more from this news report. BACK TO TOP

Steps Aside (2001)
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi appointed an unprecedented five women to his cabinet. That's two more than ever before, and accounts for nearly a third of his 17-man, uh, person team. Many says this move is good for women — and better for Japan. Read more from this Asiaweek report.

Men’s Involvement in Gender Equality Movements in Japan (2001)
Gender equality in Japan is still far behind the situation in other Asian countries. One aspect is that most Japanese men have not been involved in this issue, and this is what this paper focuses on.

Recent policy of the government of Japan on the issue known as "wartime comfort women" (2001)
The Government of Japan has since expressed its sincere apologies and remorse to the former "wartime comfort women" on many occasions. Recognizing that the issue known as "wartime comfort women" was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of a large number of women, the Government of Japan, together with the people of Japan, seriously discussed what could be done for expressing their sincere apologies and remorse to the former "wartime comfort women." As a result, the Asian Women's Fund (AWF) was established on July 19, 1995 in order to offer atonement from Japanese people to the former "wartime comfort women." Read more about the recent policy of the Japanese government. BACK TO TOP

Fourth periodic report on implementation of convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (2001)
This is Japan's fourth periodic report submitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in accordance with article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter referred to as "Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women" or "the Convention"), which Japan ratified in 1985. View the document from our server. BACK TO TOP

Women in politics: Japan (2000)
Japan’s constitution ensures equality between men and women in politics. But we have still very few female politicians. On the national level, we have 35 women in the House of Representatives, which is 7.3%, and 43 women in the House of Councilors, which is 17.1%. In total, we have about 10% female politicians in the Diet. On the local level, 6.2% of the politicians are female. The reason that the percentage is higher on the national level seems to be that the national elections tend to be more like a popularity poll in urban areas, and a number of female Diet members are former actresses, TV personalities or relatives of senior conservative politicians. Download this report, which was presented during the 1st FES Young Women Leaders Network Conference held on 3-4 November 2000 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Women in Japan (2000)
This is part of the online journal, Japan Insight, a publication of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Japan Information Network (JIN). This comprehensive report describes issues facing women in Japan. It offers information on and insight into the lives of women in Japan. Specific areas covered include: Growing Up in Japan, Women Working and Pursuing Careers, Women in Politics and Social Service, Women as Consumers, and Women in the Media.
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Women 2000 – Japan NGO report
The Japan NGO Alternative Report was prepared by compiling inputs from Japanese women's group and individuals. This report was prepared by coalition of members of women's organizations as an input to Women 2000 Conference that will review implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action after 5 years. It will provide alternative views to Japan's Official Governmental Report prepared in response to questionnaire circulated by UN Division for Advancement of Women. BACK TO TOP

Women (1999)
By and large Japanese women today have achieved legal equality with men. This does not mean, however, that discrimination against women no longer exists. In a poll conducted by the Prime Minister's Office in 1995, more than half of the respondents felt that women had not achieved equality in the workplace or in the realm of social attitudes. This section focuses on the situation of Japanese women at work today and on measures taken by the Government to improve their lot. View from the document from our server. BACK TO TOP

Women in the Japanese labor force (1999)
Today, many Japanese women receive higher education and engage in fields from humanities to engineering. These women occupy high-level jobs as doctors, architects, and lawyers. While statistics show that more women are working in various fields, they also show there is a significant number of educated women who choose either not to work, or to work part-time. Utilization of these women, especially in the face of a rapidly aging Japanese society, is one of the most serious policy challenges for the future. View from the document from our server. BACK TO TOP

Japanese women in politics (1998)
Facts and figures on the participation of Japanese women in politics. View the document from our server. BACK TO TOP

Japanese women in politics (1997)
Japan ranked 145th out of 161 countries for the proportion of women to men in parliament. Prior to the 1996 national elections, women held only 2% of seats in the powerful lower house of Japan's parliament, or Diet. However, in recent years elected women in Japan has been increasing albeit slowly. But as women become more active and vocal, they continue to find resistance strong and national politics hard to break into.
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A new woman of Japan:
A political biography of Katô Shidzue (1995)

Katô Shidzue, born into an upper class family at the turn of the century, was educated to become a traditional "good wife and wise mother." While her father brought home Western trinkets from his professional visits to Europe, her mother made sure that Shidzue's decorum remained proper for an aristocratic Japanese woman. When, at seventeen, she married the Baron Ishimoto Keikichi, she seemed well on her way to fulfilling the subservient feminine role required of her. Her husband, however, insisted that Shidzue become a "new woman" of Japan; that she school herself for independence and militancy in a world he hoped would come to reflect his ideals of socialism and Christian humanism.Over the next few years Shidzue began her life's work for political and social equality and family planning education. Her campaigns would intensify during the early thirties, become muted during the late thirties, necessarily fade during the forties, and rise to new heights at the war's end.

Women in Japanese Society: Their Changing Roles (1992)
The place of women in Japanese society provides an interesting blend of illusion and myth. There are two distinct Japanese societies - public and private. The popular Western image of the subservient Japanese woman is real, it is however, only an image. In their private family role, women quite often dominate the male members of the household. Judged by Western standards, the women of Japan are unusually dedicated to their families. The current position of women in Japanese society can be attributed to the vestiges of two old philosophies - Confucianism, and Samurai based feudalism. These influences are still strong, however in spite of these influences the public role of women has changed markedly since the beginning of World War II. View the document from our server. BACK TO TOP

Japanese women confront domestic violence
A recent Japanese court decision regarding a case of a female defendant accused of murdering her abusive partner sets a remarkable precedent. Although the Nagoya District Court found the woman guilty of using excessive force in the act of self-defense, it did not sentence her to any prison time. Until now, the courts have been reluctant to admit self-defense claims by female defendants whose crimes were committed in the context of domestic violence, and have usually imposed prison terms in self-defense cases involving excessive force. And more importantly this time, the victims of domestic violence are now coming out, sharing their stories and finally confronting the issue. View the document from our server. BACK TO TOP

Women and women’s communities in Ancient Japan
The history of women in ancient Japan is, like so much else in early Japanese history, filled with missing parts. We know very little about Japan before the advent of writing, so piecing together women's lives and contributions to early Japanese history is as difficult as piecing together the lives and histories of the early Japanese. This article discusses women and women communities in ancient Japan during the Nara and Heian periods. In those times, Japan is fortunate to have a well-developed, thriving, literate community of women both surrounding the court of the emperor as well as in the lesser courts of regional governors. View the document from our server. BACK TO TOP