The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

The year 2015 is a powerful one for advocacy by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), as Eric Sedlak, ACCJ vice president–Tokyo pointed out in his leader article last month. The Women in Business (WIB) Committee is committed to supporting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s goal of ensuring that women account for 30 percent of the leaders in Japan by 2020.

To accelerate this change, we are putting a major focus on advocacy through our white paper—Toward the Japanese government’s goal of 30% women in management positions by 2020 (A Collaborative, partnership-based blueprint for Japan)—which is due to be released on June 29 at the 2015 WIB Summit at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo.

Co-authored by WIB Committee vice chairs for advocacy Makiko Fukui, Corinne Johnson, and Barry Hirschfeld, who have dedicated many months to painstaking research and rigorous editing, the white paper identifies three underlying pillars that will best support Japan in reaching this goal.

These are providing seamless support for women who work, ensuring greater labor mobility, and facilitating agents for a change in mind-sets. The pillars are further broken down into 13 recommendations and calls to action.

The 2015 WIB Summit will provide a platform on which to build on the white paper’s themes, and will engage a broad partnership of private enterprise managers, policymakers in government, representatives from education, individual employees and entrepreneurs.

This year’s summit will not just be about having important and relevant conversations. We will be putting maximum energy into making the change happen. Our commitment is clear in our vision statement:

“It’s time to stop talking. Now it’s time to take action; action that drives measurable results that not only increase participation of women in the workforce but also their advancement. [The 2015 WIB Summit] is focused on providing individuals, companies, [as well as] government and educational institutes with examples of actions that make a real difference to women in the workforce.”

The scope of this year’s event is ambitious and aims to cover the entire career lifecycle of entry and re-entry into the workforce; advancement through one’s career; and, operating at senior leadership and board levels.

While we can promise that, as always, there will be a plethora of exciting premier-level guests speaking on the main stage, in order to reflect our aim of keeping the summit practical and focused on change, we are organizing a wide range of smaller breakout and working sessions, such as “Taking Action and Seeing Results”; “The Role of HR in Increasing and Advancing Women in Business”; “Learning from Women in Leadership”; and, “Men Taking Action.” These will give all participants the opportunity to contribute valuable knowledge and experience to each topic.

A positive new initiative this year is the partnership of the four major women’s conferences in Tokyo. The WINConference, the International Conference for Women in Business, the ACCJ Women in Business Summit, and the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo (WAW! Tokyo) have come together in a collaborative partnership to promote all four events and bring a unified wave of action across all communities.

The WINConference kicked off in April with Leanne Cutts and Royanne Doi as plenary speakers on behalf of the WIB Committee of the ACCJ, and Rui Matsukawa, director, Gender Mainstreaming Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a representative of WAW! Tokyo.

The 2015 WIB Summit is coming up fast, and places—at just ¥5,000 (members) and ¥7,500 (guests)—will fill up quickly. So mark the June 29 occasion on your calendar as a must-go-to event and refer to the sign-up notice in your inbox.


By Elizabeth Handover

Co-chair of Women In Business Committee


“It’s time to stop talking. Now it’s time to take action.”