Numbers released Tuesday by the Japanese Ministry for Internal Affairs and Communications
show that a record number of women joined the Japanese workforce in June. 90 percent of 530,000 new hires were women, which caused the total number of working women to rise above 30 million for the first time.
Compared to other industrialized nations, female employment rates in Japan have been low historically. Most recently, 44.5 percent of the Japanese workforce was female, compared to around 46 to 47 percent in Western countries. In 2019 so far, 51.8 percent of women over the age of 15 were employed, compared to 69.4 percent of men.
If women work in Japan, they often work part-time or as contracted employees. In 2017, this was true for around half of women employees, compared to 18 percent of men. Women also only occupy a small share of executive positions in Japan. 12.9 percent worked in management in 2016, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.