Japan Data

Japan Falling Short of Government Target of 10% Women Executives by 2020


The ratio of women executives in listed companies as of the end of March 2018 was only 3.8% and 65.8% of companies have no women executives at all.

Just 3.8% of executives at Japan’s listed companies are women. A survey conducted by the credit reporting agency Tokyo Shōkō Research showed that as of the end of March 2018, 1,049 out of a total of 27,526 executives in 2,375 listed companies were female. The ratio rose slightly from 3.3% the previous year. In addition, 65.8% of all listed companies have no women executives at all.

The service industry had the highest ratio with 6.07%, followed by retail with 5.96%, and finance/insurance with 5.69%. The industry with the lowest ratio of women executives was construction with 2.06%.

Industry Number of Executives as of March 2018
Total Number of Executives Number of Women Ratio of Women (%)
Fisheries/Agriculture/Mining 126 4 3.17
Construction 1,697 35 2.06
Manufacturing 12,745 407 3.19
Electricity/Gas 327 17 5.19
Transportation/Information & Communications 3,699 134 3.63
Wholesale 2,637 89 3.37
Retail 1,459 87 5.96
Finance/Insurance 2,214 126 5.69
Real Estate 641 29 4.52
Services 1,991 121 6.07
All Industries 27,526 1,049 3.81

Compiled by Nippon.com based on a Tokyo Shōkō Research survey of women executives.

The administration of Abe Shinzō has promoted active participation of women in the workforce as an important policy. Prime Minister Abe met with the top three economic organizations including Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), in April 2013 to request that all the listed companies should each appoint one woman to their executive boards. From 2015, it became required to report the number of executives by gender in securities reports and clearly state the percentage of women. Further, as summarized in the Basic Plan for Gender Equality in December 2015, the aim is to have a 10% ratio of women executives by 2020. However, with only two years left, this is looking impossible to achieve.

In other countries, the introduction of quota systems for a predetermined ratio of women on executive boards has led to many cases where the number of women executives has rapidly increased. Listed companies that have their headquarters in California (including foreign companies) are required to ensure that they have at least one woman executive appointed to their boards by the end of 2019. They are also expected to make further increases by the end of 2021, meaning companies with 5 executives are required to have 2 women executives, and companies with 6 or more executives need 3 women executives by that time.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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