Japan’s Govt Used Women To Save Its Economy – By Exploiting Them | AJ+

Japan’s Govt Used Women To Save Its Economy – By Exploiting Them | AJ+


In November 2017, one woman and her baby brought a Japanese city council to a standstill. Well, I heard shouts. Really loud shouts. One of them was shouting: They said: And I said: Yuka Ogata is an assemblywoman for Kumamoto city. In other words, she’s one of the few Japanese women in a position of leadership. Yuka made headlines on her first day back at work since giving birth. She was kicked out of an assembly meeting for showing up with her newborn baby in her arms. I told them: “Well, I am representing people like me, so I have all the right to be here.” They told me: “No, no, no, they cannot open the session as long as there’s a baby in the chamber.” Over 60% of women in Japan quit their jobs after giving birth to their first child. And employers expect that, which is why they’re less likely to invest in the career development of their women employees. What’s worse? It’s not uncommon for employers to demote or pressure women into quitting as soon as they become pregnant. This is known as matahara, or maternity harassment. Yuka has long fought for women’s rights in the workplace. But most of her proposals, such as having a nursery room built in her workplace, have been vetoed by her city council. And so she took her baby to work to confront her colleagues with the reality of motherhood. I want the people in politics, people in power, to listen to what we are saying. What women have been saying. We are really struggling, and we want to have children, but we can’t. Yuka’s story highlights a larger problem in Japanese society: the failure of Womenomics. In a nutshell, Womenomics is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to save the economy by bringing more women into Japan’s male-dominated workforce. You see, more than a quarter of Japan’s population is over the age of 65. Its population is aging dramatically, to the point where adult diapers are outselling baby diapers. And not enough babies are being born to replace that aging population. That leads to an acute shortage of labor, and ultimately, to economic stagnation. In an attempt to tackle this, the prime minister decided women could fill the labor gap. And he packaged that as an advance for women’s rights. He said he wanted to create a society in which “all women shine.” More women in senior positions, improved maternity leave, etc. But Womenomics has been failing women big time. Instead of uplifting them, it’s exploiting them. Here’s why: See, the number of women workers has actually increased since Womenomics. But in 2018, Japan ranked 110th out of 149 countries in the global gender gap index. And that’s partly because of the quality of the jobs that women are getting: They’re mostly getting part-time jobs without the benefits that come with full-time work. There is more and more part-time jobs for women. Part-time jobs with very low wages and no welfare. So now there are many women who have jobs, but still struggle to make ends meet. There’s another reason why Japan ranks this low in the gender gap index. This is Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet, the people making the nation’s most important political decisions. Now count the number of women. Exactly. The reason why the situation is the way it is now is because there’s very few women in decision-making positions. That’s right: Only 12.4% of lawmakers, senior officials and managers in Japan are women. And it wasn’t until 2015 that large companies were finally required by law to set targets for increasing women in management and to disclose those results to the public. But surprise surprise, there are no penalties if they fail to comply. Is [Womenomics] working from Shinzo Abe’s point of view? Maybe to some extent, because his objective is to raise production. But to me, the government’s plan to make women shine … I guess it’s safe to say, it’s a bit different from what we want. Womenomics was the greatest sign of hope women had seen in years. It meant something profound and unprecedented. Their well-being was no longer a burden, but at last, a national priority. Six years on, there are more women in the workforce, but they’re still losing out. How Womenomics is enforced, or how it affects women doesn’t seem to matter to those who came up with it. In Japan, we have a term … kodakara, which means children are treasures. These days we don’t hear that word anymore. When this is what it’s like to be a working woman in Japan, is it any wonder why they’re still struggling to shine?

88 Comments on "Japan’s Govt Used Women To Save Its Economy – By Exploiting Them | AJ+"


  1. I feel for the women, but they need to be just as stubborn with their agenda as the men are that's the only way things will get a little better for them. The men need the women, so the men will eventually give in. That's just my opinion though.

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  2. The economy relies on having a reserve army of unemployed labor. As near full employment rate is reached, the cost of labor increases for businesses while simultaneously businesses need to do wage cuts to counter declining rate of profit from intensifying market competition. This results in some businesses inevitably going out of business as less revenue can be reinvested until the market competition reduces and the reserve army of labor is increased (increased unemployment)

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  3. 2:48 Come on, the Skytree is not an office building — that's like drawing the Eiffel Tower as an office building.

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  4. I have to agree with the Japanese government on this one. A woman's place is in the home. 😐😐😐😐

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  5. Break them, sisters. If they don’t want to see the end of the Japanese people due to population decline, they have to give in.

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  6. Hold on…did that man deadass lift her baby and take her out?

    Like…a total stramger just csrried her infant baby out?

    Oh nah…

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  7. A parent cannot work while caring for the child simultaneously. Concentration and focus is need in work..

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  8. Unfortunately this is a global problem. Men should be sidelined who hold conventional or conservative ideology. And women need to take a more aggressive stance on the male dominance society. I want 60 to 70% of all government to be held by women. It is time to make this change. And it is also time for women to learn the martial militant skills.

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  9. This is a major problem. Japanese women need to galvanise a grassroot movenent and do public protests.

    Japan is supposed to be a developed country. Why is this happening? It's like a 60s throwback or something.

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  10. Subsidized childcare should be part of a societal plan to invest in its next generation, while taking some of the burden off of mothers who want to work … honestly, I'm surprised that Japan hasn't figured this out yet, but then again, neither have we in the US … with an aging population, maybe hire some elderly grandparents to help out … 🤱

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  11. Thanks for this presentation. This phenomenon has been been far better explored in Japanese anime and sci-fi much more than it has as a matter of world history.

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  12. hence, they do…. but forcing in to private company with thin profit margin… it just not fair to anyone…

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  13. Al hamdu lillah for Islam, where if practiced, the women have zero worries about income, because it is obligatory for the men to provide her primary needs (food, drink, basic clothing, house, etc.)

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  14. Japan has a load of problems like this. They need a political revolution just as bad as we do in America.

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  15. Japan, a country so reactionary that, unlike Germany, still uses a flag heavily associated to its fascist period.

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  16. If you will consider, that japanese work like 14-16 hours per day, you will probably understand, that mothers with little children cannot work, and she has to choose what is more important for her – career of family.

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  17. "On the surface, it was a win for women’s empowerment. But instead of being uplifted, women ended up being exploited." 😒 Why does that sound so familiar?

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  18. I recently moved to Japan, I'm to be 2.5 years in Tokyo and I already hate it. Sexism here is so damn obvious and no one seems to care, I can't stand it. I thought Russia had problems, I thought my country in central America had problems… but this….

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  19. I don't understand why (if they even have a choice that is) women have kids at all. Don't you see with whom we have to reproduce? I'd rather rip my ovaries out with my bare hands and strangle myself with my uterine tubes before I shit out a baby. Reproductively speaking women get the short end of the stick in every way. Even sex is better for men (I'm definetely fine without it).

    Nah fam, I ain't falling for this (genetic) scam. 😏🖕😆

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  20. I don't think all woman want to work, the main problem is japan daily groceries in Japan somewhat more expensive than many nations in Asia. That is the main problem, japanese yen is not a strong currencies for daily store shopping, this video somewhat misleading to make woman attacks japanese man, see the japanese man first do they feel happy with their job? Suicide number declining ? work life balance should be the main priority for all gender, and fix the problems with japanese yen first before making woman work work work especially for a mom. The prices for groceries in japan is high and it is bad for all japanese that shop for foods, etc.

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  21. Gawddamned selfish barbarian know nothing Westerners lecturing the Japanese! Compare their Society to the West and tell me who the phuck should be lecturing whom?

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  22. I gave credits and courage for this woman, Yuka Ogata came out and told the world about the sacred as a dark, secret, silent brutal Japanese society. Proud of her👍!!

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  23. I've lived in Japan for more than 15 years.
    Another BIG part of the problem is women working against other women. Either by enabling the men or by actively criticizing the women who try to get ahead.
    Its a deep rabbit hole and you will not like what you discover inside it.

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  24. I’d heard about this issue before, but hearing it explained in English for the first time finally makes it feel as serious as it actually is.
    それとあの議員さん、英語に流暢なんですね。感服しました。

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  25. Working women worldwide need to be paid properly to be self-supporting: Men want their Freedom, First women need their Money!

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  26. I've been here for five years. There is a huge lack of childcare which is making the problem even worse. There aren't enough daycares even though the birth rates are declining. Just like in the US, normal people never got that recovery from the economy…and women got hit with it harder. I work part-time and basically all of the part timers I know are women. Japanese work life just isn't flexible enough if you're expected to do it all.

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  27. I just wanted to point out that in many countries they don't have this problem because women barely have any rights at all. This really is a #firstworldproblems issue; it's very important and very relevant, but having this problem should be both considered a plus for Japan as a sign of their advancement, and also as a negative of modern cultures that needs to be addressed. Hopefully in the future even more countries will find themselves moving through this development process. Countries cant walk before they crawl; but hopefully we can shorten the crawling phase in the future by learning from our mistakes. PS – the USA, Canada, Australia, western European nations, they/we all have these or very similar problems, there is a lot of work to do, but we shouldn't falsely equate these problems with say the Totalitarianism of China, or the Fascism of Russia, we should remember our successes, and our victories and be proud of what we've accomplished.

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  28. Their population is dying >>>>>> they're shaming working women when they have kids and make them quite🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

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  29. I said it before & I'll say it again. Whenever a nation gets the Olympics all of their dirty laundry comes out. This includes Japan. Japan is a gorgeous nation, with beautiful traditions. Unfortunately, if they don't treat their women better, they will have to get used to seeing more foreigners, move there as their population continues to decline.

    They literally cheated thousands of their female citizens out of their medical exams to favour men that performed poorly by comparison, to keep them out of the work place.

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  30. Woman have rights …They have giving birth to kings and prophet …They must have a special place in all sector…

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  31. Punishing ♀️ for being ♀️ – THAT is what institutional misogyny looks like.

    … it's not at all limited to 🇯🇵.

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  32. Why are people harping on Japan for having low birth rate, Western country have low birth rate worse than Japan when migrant not counted in the equation, native people got less childrem than Japan!

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  33. tbf all governments exploit women. How the heck did we arrive at a place where you need a dual-income household just to stay afloat

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  34. Marginalizing women is one of the many reasons why Japan is culturally superior to the west.

    The mess we're in should be proof enough of that.

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  35. These working women always seem to be "empowered" untill they hit their 30's, become disillusioned and realise what they are actually meant to be doing. Raising a family, what an evil, sexist thought.

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  36. It's like capitalism ruins everything. Don't google Murray Bookchin, Silvia Federici, or democratic confederalism

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  37. this issue is literally everywhere on earth! Middle east countries, Asian countries, some parts of Europe and the 2 America's!!! this is nothing new it's been around for ages.

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  38. I’ m from Japan.
    A social system in Japan makes it hard for women but I don’t call it a women problem because the system does not aim to exclude only women but anyone else.

    The context of women matter in Japan is quite different from other country and you can never talk about it with a scheme for foreign countries.
    No imported women power movement will be successful in Japan no matter what somebody Japanese influenced by foreign social movements says.

    Learn in Japanese school at least from Middle school, get married to somebody Japanese live in Japanese family, and work for a Japanese company or you will fail to understand the system of Japanese society.

    I won’t make any excuse for the system because I am a male victim.
    But I am sure that all foreigners who do not experience 4 elements above in Japan will fail to understand this matter.

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  39. PLUS they don't encourage immigration, which Japan really needs in order to make up for the ageing population. Helping women balance jobs and children is necessary, but not enough

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  40. Their no enforcement or punishment for not following those types of laws. Is how the world works 🙁

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  41. man its tough for the work force for a women in japan, even my favorite manga artist (being a mom herself) wanted to write a book about the struggles of pregnant women in the work force, it stired controversy and the book was canceled : ( Japan isn't really a society open to talk about social issues unfortunately

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  42. Japanese like to doom themselves, their population is shrinking and they dislike babies and pregnant woman. Instad making them heroine and promoted japanese women and families to have babies. Emancipating japanese woman is the last line of japanese defence to extinction.

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  43. When i see the gender gap in a lot of other countries..the more I appreciate my Filipino culture. Yeah we have some toxic cultures but women are respected and regarded here. I had a bigger salary than my male coworker who was interviewed at the same time as me and had a longer experience. There's no disparity. There are male and female nurses. Male and female flight attendants. Male and female engineers all working side by side by merit and not biased by gender in any way. We may not be as pretty as Japan..but I am proud of our slightly homophobic society, subtly racist, but has came a long way in gender equality

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  44. The work structure definitely needs to be fixed. Equal pay for equal work. These women deserve all the benefits of having a job that won't financially shaft them.

    And the fact that an outdated minset is screwing over everything needs to be addressed and stopped.

    Women can and should work full time jobs while being mothers and deserve maternity leave with pay. There definitely needs to be more women in positions of power and less emphasis on staying at home and raising children.

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  45. If you want women to work, you gotta have decent maternity leave, nursery/day care,etc. With japan's negative birth rate, sort term fix get your fellow Asians in as migrant workers. If you want have them in those emptied towns.
    But if automation and robots get up to speed, it can help ease your country to a slower demographic death.
    🤷🏿‍♂️

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