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Can Japanese women save Abenomics?

[ 2014-09-22 09:48] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe included five women in his second Cabinet nine days before the World Assembly for Women convened in Tokyo on Friday.

This is because Abe is looking to Japanese women to help him execute his strategy to revitalize the economy.

Governing a country with a shrinking and rapidly aging population, Abe is counting on Japan's "hidden asset", millions of highly educated women who are not working.

In Japan the negative impact of aging on growth is said to be larger than in any other advanced economy. Its decline in labor is judged to subtract about 0.25 percentage points from potential growth each year.

An easy way to help slow this trend would be to increase the participation in the economy of women.

Kathy Matsui, chief Japan strategist at Goldman Sachs, said Japan could boost its GDP by almost 13 percent if it could narrow the gap between the number of men and women in the workplace, which would mean 7 million more workers in the labor pool.

Also, the World Economic Forum's research found that Japanese corporations with higher performance consistently have greater female participation in senior management.

The ambitious Abe has set numerical targets for his "womenomics" initiatives after his ineffective bids in other fields. He aims to raise the proportion of mothers who return to work after the birth of their first child to 55 percent and have women occupy 30 percent of leadership positions by the year 2020. As of March 2015, the Japanese government will require listed companies to disclose the number of women in executive positions in their financial reports.

At present only 38 percent of Japanese mothers return to work after giving birth to their first child. And women account for only 2.9 percent of manager-level and higher positions in Japanese companies employing 5,000 or more people.

Official figures released on Sunday show that the employment rate of women aged between 25 and 44 rose to 74.2 percent at the end of July, the highest since the Japanese government began compiling such data in 1968. But unless the workplace is more women-friendly, Abe's "womenomics" won't have the desired effect.

It is still difficult for Japanese women to balance raising children and working full time. And the current system discourages women from entering career-stream positions.

There is a severe shortage of day-care provision, which makes it hard for mothers to return to work. While Japan's workplace culture rewards long hours more than results. Goldman Sachs report found that Japanese men spend an average of 59 minutes a day on housework and child care - the shortest amount of time in the developed world. And the current tax system keeps women in the home, as it effectively punishes households with two working adults - a family can currently only deduct a second income if it remains under about 1 million yen ($10,000) a year - a hurdle for spouses who wish to work more.

However, even if Abe can increase the proportion of women in employment, some economists doubt it will be enough to stimulate the Japanese economy.

Royal Bank of Scotland Securities economists calculated that even if the percentage of the working-age women who work climbs up to 73.5 percent by 2030, Japan's potential growth rate would only rise by 0.14 percentage points. And population declines would nullify that tiny increment.

But Japan can't afford to leave its large number of women underutilized.

As Abe's tenure is finite, how far his "womenomics" initiatives will go is questionable. It is uncertain whether his successors will follow his strategy to boost economic growth through reforms and policies to encourage Japanese women to work and lead.


3号,日本首相安倍晋三(Shinzo Abe)刚刚改组的内阁中女阁僚人数达到5人。此时,距将在东京召开的全球女性领袖国际论坛(女性版达沃斯论坛)(World Assembly for Women)还有9天。




高盛集团(Goldman Sachs)首席日本分析师松井凯西(Kathy Matsui)分析,日本若可缩小职场男女人数之间的差距,就可以提振其国内生产总值近13%,这将意味着劳动力资源将新增700万工人。

此外,世界经济论坛(World Economic Forum)研究发现,在日本高效能企业中,管理高层女性人数较多。



14号,官方数据表明,7月底,25至44岁妇女的就业率升至74.2 %,创下日本政府自1968年编制此类数据以来最高纪录。但是,若工作场所不利于妇女,安倍晋三的“女性经济学”将无法产生预期效果。


而且日本日托服务不发达,女性难以返回工作岗位。同时,日本职业文化更重视工作长度而不是报酬。高盛集团(Goldman Sachs)报告发现,日本男人每天平均花59分钟做家务和照顾孩子——在发达国家中时间最短。而且现行税收制度规定,只有年收入100万日元以下(约合6.2万元)的家庭才可以有第二份收入,否则将受到惩罚,以此防止夫妻两人同时工作,但妇女却因此只能待在家中。


据苏格兰皇家银行(Royal Bank of Scotland)证券经济学家推算,即便2030年时符合工作年龄的妇女工作比例上升至73.5%,日本潜在经济增长率将仅上升0.14个百分点。而人口减少会抵消那部分微小的增量。



(译者 house黄奕 编辑 丹妮)


日本女性能拯救安倍经济学吗? 日本女性能拯救安倍经济学吗?