Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Business
Economics

Covid-19 Creates New Headwind for Abe’s Vow to Promote Women

  • 300,000 female workers departed from labor force in April, May
  • Women far from Abe’s 30% goal of leadership positions by 2020
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen on a public screen as he announces the lifting of a nationwide state of emergency on May 25.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen on a public screen as he announces the lifting of a nationwide state of emergency on May 25.Photographer: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images
Updated on

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will fall well short of his pledge for women to hold 30% of the nation’s leadership positions this year as the coronavirus pandemic highlights the fragility of women’s employment gains.

In April the number of women employed fell for the first time in more than eight years. That broke a streak of increases since Abe returned to office in December 2012, calling for better utilization of the talents of the country’s female population.