The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Greetings to the ACCJ community. My name is Makiko Tachimori (Fukui), vice chair, Women in Business Committee (WIB).

First of all, we would like to express our gratitude to all the contributors and sponsors who enabled us to finalize our new white paper Untapped Potential. We have been preparing for this white paper for nearly two years. During that time, we have seen much progress and change in the area of promoting women to leadership roles in Japan.

To get from the original advocacy strategy to where we are now required an enormous amount of work. Speaking with experts and researchers, drafting and reviewing the content of the paper, communicating with the approval board and various committees, producing the final version, and preparing for the launch event involved so much dedication by an excellent team. I truly thank everyone from the bottom of my heart, especially Corrine Johnson, A. Barry Hirschfeld, Jr., Emiko Ogami, and Melanie Chang.

As a working mother myself, I would like to share with you my view on how we can actually make gender equality in the workplace happen in Japan. We have no time to waste and we need to move on from mere discussion to real action.

I myself struggled while raising my daughter. Putting her on the waiting list for childcare, taking on all the housework, and being pressured by my in-laws, local school, PTAs, and neighbors was tough. At that time, I really thought that having more working mothers around would make my life easier. Life is difficult when you don’t have a community or role models.

I am not going to talk about why this is important or how having more women in leadership positions will benefit our economy, businesses, and the country. These things have already been discussed over and over, and the data has been clear for more than 10 years. Now we simply need real action. We have no time to waste.

I understand there is no simple solution because it involves culture, emotion, systems, and mindset—and change often requires pain.

However, we must proceed and take real action now. What can we actually do to make this happen?

Our white paper offers 10 great recommendations for Japan and companies. Each of us can be a spokesperson—or change agent—to promote one or more of these. The more change agents we have, the faster we can achieve results. You can pick any of the 10 recommendations with which you sympathize.

Real action is what we need now. Talk about this topic. Act as a role-model. Share these recommendations with your fellow colleagues and employees. We can change Japan for the better.

One more important message for all women: Don’t wait until somebody makes the changes for us. All women can be a spokesperson now.


And, if we put these recommendations into action, fabulous results will happen for both women and men, young and old, government and private sectors, anybody involved with Japan. More jobs will be created and higher productivity achieved. With it will come revenue and economic growth, flexible working hours, and mobility in the labor market. Many hidden talents will be discovered, and people will be happier in general. We strongly believe that Japanese business will flourish.

Makiko Tachimori (Fukui) is Vice Chair of the Women in Business Committee
Don't wait until somebody makes the changes for us. All women can be a spokesperson now.