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Opinion
William Pesek

Abe Needs to Lean Forward

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has talked a lot about empowering women. But the strongest support he could give right now would be to appoint several top women to his reshuffled cabinet.
Abe talks a good game on empowering women, but now he has a chance to make a breakthrough gesture.
Abe talks a good game on empowering women, but now he has a chance to make a breakthrough gesture.

Those who think Japan is suddenly in the throes of a feminist revolution should take a look at a new survey on gender in the world's third-biggest economy.

In December 2012, Shinzo Abe returned to the prime minister's residence determined to end Japan's decades-long funk and raise living standards. Empowering women, a chronically underutilized resource, was a key pillar of so-called Abenomics. But 19 months on, the Meiji Yasuda Institute of Life and Wellness finds that 40 percent of men and women in their 20s, 30s and 40s still think a woman's place is in the home, while men should work full time. We're not talking about Japanese in their 70s, but a post-feminist demographic that includes Japanese millennials.