Ryoko Akamatsu, Pioneering Japanese Female Bureaucrat, Dies at 94

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Ryoko Akamatsu in Tokyo, 2015.

Former education minister Ryoko Akamatsu died at 94, according to the Japan committee for UNICEF, where she served as president.

A farewell party for the pioneering female bureaucrat, who helped enact the equal employment opportunity law, will be held at a later date.

Akamatsu served in the labour ministry, now the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry, as director-general of the women’s bureau, among other posts, and was at the forefront of efforts to enact the equal employment opportunity law, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender in the workplace.

She was also active on the international stage, serving as ambassador to Uruguay and as a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Akamatsu served as education minister in then Morihiro Hosokawa’s and Tsutomu Hata’s cabinets from 1993 to 1994.