51% of major Japan firms name female executives in 2016, but overall figure lags other nations

July 21, 20164:45 pm270 views

A total of 258 out of 500 major firms listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section have appointed one or more female executives, including to their boards, this year, a Jiji Press survey has found.

The proportion of such companies came to 51 percent, up from 42 percent in 2015.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing a policy of better utilizing women in the workforce with a view to realizing a society in which the whole population can play an active role.

The number of female executives at the surveyed companies totaled 355, accounting for 4.6 percent of the 7,723 executives, up from last year’s 3.8 percent.

Still, Japanese companies are lagging far behind foreign firms.

According to a 2015 survey by U.S. financial services giant MSCI, 73 percent of big companies in the world have female executives, with women accounting for 15 percent of all executives.

Of the female executives appointed at the TSE-listed companies so far in 2016, 43 were promoted internally, or just over 10 percent of the total.

The rest are outside directors. Many of them are lawyers, accountants, university professors or former bureaucrats.

Among them, East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) appointed Reiko Amano, executive director of the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience, as its first female outside board director.

Major trader Itochu Corp. invited former Vice Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Atsuko Muraki as an outside board director, while astronaut Naoko Yamazaki became an outside director of machinery maker Nabtesco Corp.

news source: japantimes.co.jp

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