Japan Sole Nation to Dispatch Male Minister to G7 Gender-Equality Meeting

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Gender equality minister Masanobu Ogura, fourth from right, is seen with other representatives on Sunday in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture.

NIKKO, Tochigi — Japan was the only Group of Seven country to dispatch a male minister to the recently held G7 Ministerial Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.

The event, which closed Sunday, was attended by nine representatives of countries and organizations, with Japan’s gender equality minister Masanobu Ogura — who chaired the Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture meeting — being the sole official male presence. The gathering was expected to highlight women’s activities in Japan but ended up demonstrating the conspicuously small role women play in contemporary Japanese politics.

The convocation was attended by G7 ministers and representatives of the European Union and the Gender Equality Advisory Council.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Ogura said: “I explained during the event that Japan has been slow to make progress in promoting [women] in the political arena, but such moves are starting to gain momentum. Despite being the only male minister [in attendance], I received warm support from the other representatives.”

The World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Gender Gap Report, released June 20, ranked Japan 125th out of 146 countries for gender equality and 138th in terms of female political participation — lagging all other G7 countries.