White Paper on Gender Equality 2000

Chapter 1 Building Social Systems that Promote Gender Equality

  1. Expanding women's participation in policy decision-making processes
    • With regard to the encouragement of the recruitment and promotion of female civil servants, the Plans to Expedite the Administrative Reform of the Central Government were adopted by the Headquarters for the Promotion of Administrative Reform of the Central Government on 27 April 1999. They have established the principles of taking measures to establish an environment for the promotion of gender equality as well as encouraging the promotion of women and carrying out follow-up on progress. In addition, the Guidelines on personnel administration for FY2000 (decided by the Director-General of the Management and Coordination Agency on 22 March 2000), which are the basic guidelines for personnel administration in central government, also aim to adopt the principle of a gender equal society and encourage the recruitment and promotion of female national civil servants. The government will unite at all levels to work on following the guidelines.
  2. Reviewing social systems and practices and reforming awareness from the perspective of gender equality
    • The Management and Coordination Agency's Study Group on Statistics of Unpaid Work will reach its conclusions on concepts, definitions and ways of grasping the unpaid work situation during FY2000.

Chapter 2 Realizing Gender Equality in the Workplace, Home and Community

  1. Securing Equal opportunity and equal treatment in employment, etc.
    • The Ministry of Labour will conduct seminars for senior corporate management and people in charge of personnel and run training for female management candidates and implement Commendations for Enterprises Promoting Equal Employment for companies that are taking positive measures to encourage the use of women's skills to encourage positive action by companies.
    • The Ministry of Labour will develop a comprehensive administrative structure for policies on securing equal opportunity in employment by establishing the Prefectural Labour Office, which will combine three local bodies (the Prefectural Labour Standards Office, the Prefectural Women and Young Worker's Office and the Prefectural Employment Security Work Security Main Office).
    • The Ministry of Labour will produce guidelines to ensure proper regulation of home work and will promote support for home workers by conducting educational activities as well as providing information for home workers, etc., and establishing a counseling system.
  2. Building partnerships in agriculture, forestry and fishing villages
    • A new promotional structure will be established at the prefectural and municipal levels and a mid-term vision, objectives and fiscal year action plans for promoting women's involvement in agriculture will be formulated. In addition, municipalities will produce objectives for women's participation in agriculture, forestry and fishing villages and conduct educational activities aimed at achieving these objectives.
    • Women's participation in the processing of agricultural products will be encouraged, and facilities to support women's involvement in agricultural activities that help in reducing agricultural labor will be established. In addition, as well as support for activities such as processing and sales of local fish, facilities with space for children will be provided in order to improve the work of women in fishing villages and help in raising their skill levels.
  3. Supporting men and women in harmonizing their working lives with home and community lives
    • With the dramatic changes taking place in the environment surrounding children and the home, a solution to the problem of waiting lists for childcare facilities and the provision of a childcare service that is easy to utilize are very important issues. Therefore, a childcare service that responds to diverse needs, including expanded intake of very young children, long daycare and holiday care, will be developed systematically based on the New Angel Plan, etc.
    • The Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture will seek to enhance educational content and teaching methods at kindergartens, including the implementation of the new course of study for kindergartens from April 2000, to help provide an environment in which parents can bring up their children with peace of mind. In addition, it will also promote flexibility in kindergarten operation to allow them to respond to local conditions and the needs of parents. This will include the establishment of conditions concerning kindergarten attendance by three-year-old children, promotion of childcare services and the enhancement of a kindergarten's function as a local center for infant education.
    • In order to address the problem of anxiety about child rearing and child abuse as well as other areas of concern, the Ministry of Education will install Child Rearing Supporters from FY2000. The Child Rearing Supporters will provide counseling and give detailed advice to parents with concerns about child rearing and discipline. The Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture will form local child rearing support networks that will include the implementation of various communication projects in elementary schools surplus classrooms, etc.
    • The Ministry of Labour will provide subsidies, including those for the securing of substitute workers for childcare leave, for employers who ensure substitute workers during childcare leave and allow workers who have taken childcare leave to return to their original job or a job of an equivalent level.
    • From FY2000, the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture will hold nationwide promotional forums in each block to encourage people to take part in volunteer activities. In addition, the National Volunteer Information Provision and Inquiry Office will give out information over the telephone and through other means to provide further support and encouragement for volunteer activities from the perspective of promoting lifelong learning.
  4. Developing the conditions to allow senior citizens to live with peace of mind
    • The Direction of Health and Welfare for Senior Citizens in the Next Five Years (Gold Plan 21) has been formulated as the new plan to follow the New Gold Plan which ended in FY1999, and it will be implemented from FY2000.

Chapter 3 Creating a Society Which Promotes and Protects the Human Rights of Women

  1. Eliminating all forms of violence against women
    • In FY2000, the Elimination of Violence Against Women Campaign will be initiated in a joint promotion by the Prime Minister's Office, the National Police Agency, the Management and Coordination Agency, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Labour. It will aim to call society's attention to violence against women as well as to enhance the measures taken by related organizations and groups. As a rule, the campaign will run over two weeks centering on 24 May.
  2. Respecting the human rights of women in the media
    • The Prime Minister's Office will produce guidelines from the perspective of gender equality to be upheld by public organizations in the production of public relations and publications to encourage the dissemination of diverse images of men and women that do not adhere to fixed concepts based on sex.
  3. Supporting lifelong health for women
    • The national campaign plan for child and maternal health in the 21st century Healthy Parents and Children 21 will be formulated during FY2000.
  4. Promoting gender equality and making possible a diversity of choices through improved education and learning
    • From FY2000, the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture will carry out research on education to help parents with young children to raise them at home without fixed ideas on gender roles by developing learning programs and implementing model projects, as part of the new Promotion of Gender Education from Birth Project.

Chapter 4 Contributing to the Equality, Development and Peace of the Global Community

  1. Adopting and absorbing international standards in Japan
    • Between June 5 and June 9, 2000, the Women 2000 Conference will be held in New York as a special session of the United Nations General Assembly. As well as reconfirming The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at The Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, it is scheduled to adopt a document concerning future strategy for the full implementation of the Platform.
  2. Contributing to the equality, development and peace of the global community
    • In order to provide information about the Women 2000 Conference in Japan, the National Committee of Japan for Women 2000 will hold report meetings and publish newsletters on related international conferences.

Chapter 5 Promotion of the National Plan of Action

  1. Active development of measures and regular follow-up
    • The government will formulate a Basic Plan for Gender Equality based on the Basic Law for a Gender Equal Society that was established in June 1999. The formulation of the Basic Plan must be based on the report of the Council for Gender Equality Council as well as the basic principle of international cooperation laid down in Article 7 of the Basic Law for a Gender Equal Society. It must also take into consideration the outcome of the Women 2000 Conference scheduled to be held in June 2000 as a special session of the UN General Assembly. Meanwhile, changes in central government reforms in January 2001 will also be taken into account, and the Basic Plan will formulated during FY2000.
    • With the implementation of the Basic Law for a Gender Equal Society, the production of the annual report has been made statutory from FY2000 and must be submitted to the Diet. This report is the first White Paper under the statutory reporting system.
  2. Collecting, compiling and releasing survey results and information
    • From FY1999, the Prime Minister's Office has held a Research Group on Gender Equality Impact Research made up of learned people. The aim of the study group is to enable the prompt implementation of research into the impact that government policy has on the formation of a gender equal society by the Conference on Gender Equality to be set up inside the Cabinet Office under the changes to the central government from January 2001. The Research Group has conducted investigations into methods of researching impact on the formation of a gender equal society.
  3. Strengthening the structure and functions of national machineries
    • On 6 January 2001, there will be a changeover to a new system due to the administrative reform of central government agencies and ministries. Under the new system, the Congress on Gender Equality will be established within the Cabinet Office as one of the four representative organs on important policy areas. The others will be the Economic and Financial Advisory Conference, the Science and Technology Conference and the Central Disaster Prevention Conference. The Conference will be chaired by the Chief Cabinet Secretary and will be composed of Ministers and academics. In addition, the Bureau for Gender Equality (provisional name) will be established as an internal department to perform the main administrative work such as drafting plans concerning gender equality and overall coordination.
    • With regard to the handling of complaints, training opportunities and provision of information for administrative inquiry commissioners and civil liberties commissioners will be enhanced to increase their awareness of gender equality.
    • The civil liberties organization at the Ministry of Justice will set up a Women's Human Rights Problems Hotline (Complaint 110) in the Legal Affairs Bureau and the head office of the District Legal Affairs Bureau. It will also take positive steps to provide human rights counseling that addresses women's human rights problems such as violence against women and sexual harassment by measures such as establishing special advisory offices on women's human rights where necessary.
    • The Management and Coordination Agency will seek to increase the proportion of female administrative councillors as well as enhance training and provision of information to raise awareness of gender equality and compile related case studies.
  4. Strengthening liaison among national and local governments and NGOs, and enhancing nationwide efforts
    • From FY2000, the Prime Minister's Office will hold the Gender Equality Forum as an forum where the general public, private organizations and administrative organs can come together to promote policy measures in local areas and pave the way for the formation of a gender equal society.