Japan’s government to hold women-only talks, starting next month

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Masako Mori, right, who chairs the Liberal Democratic Party’s special committee on promoting women’s active participation in society, speaks during a meeting in February.

The government has decided to hold monthly talks exclusively with women, starting in January 2022.

Former Justice Minister Masako Mori, who has been appointed special advisor to the prime minister in charge of women’s active participation in society, will travel around the country to directly listen to concerns that women have and seek to reflect them in policies.

Mori plans to listen to requests from people impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, including single mothers, households raising children, farmers, the self-employed, and elderly people living alone. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will also have an opportunity to participate in the talks.

In his policy speech on Dec. 6, Kishida stressed his intention to support women in earnest. “We’ll review the systems that restrict women’s employment, and work on reforms to ease the increasing burden on young people and households raising children,” he said.

Kishida cites the “ability to listen” as his strong point, and has instructed all Cabinet members to hold talks with the public to review the work of his administration. Kishida himself has been actively engaged in dialogue with the public.