Women in Japan Today 2003

International Cooperation

Cooperation with APEC

PEC Second Ministerial Meeting on Women was held in Guadalajara, Mexico on September 28-29, 2002. This meeting was attended by ministers for women's affairs from nineteen of the twenty-one member economies of APEC, as well as female entrepreneurs from a number of countries and regions. Mr. Horimura, Japanese Ambassador to Mexico, attended the meeting as representative of the government of Japan, and Mr. Uesugi, Minister's Secretariat Councillor, Cabinet Office attended as the acting representative.

The meeting started with progress reports on activities related to gender equality in each economy, and Japan's report introduced and explained steps taken to strengthen the framework for the promotion of gender equality, measures to promote gender equality, and measures to support women's economic activities. A message from Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, Chief Cabinet Secretary and Minister for Gender Equality, was also presented at the meeting.

These were followed by reports and discussion on the main theme of the meeting, "Advancing Women Interests and Opportunities in the New Economy", and three sub-themes, "Women Entrepreneurship", "Micro Enterprises" and "The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Women".

The meeting came to a successful close following adoption of the ministerial joint statement identifying achievements made hereto, future issues, and recommendation for government leaders in particular.

Prior to the Ministerial Meeting, the Seventh Women's Leader Network Meeting (WLN) was held in Acapulco, Mexico over the three-day period August 20-22, 2002. "Sustainable Economic Development with a Gender Perspective" comprised the theme of this meeting, which is held annually as a side event in each country chairing APEC in turn. Discussion on the four sub-themes, such as "Globalization and Trade Liberalization" prevailed in workshops and the plenary meeting, and this was summarized in the statement/recommendations adopted on the final day. Representing Japan as a panelist in the plenary session, Dr. Mariko Bando, Director-General of the Gender Equality Bureau of the Cabinet Office, presented a report on one of the sub-themes, "Access and Barriers in the Labor Market".

Cooperation with APEC

Dr. Bando, Director General of the Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet office reporting on the current situation in Japan at the 7th WNL Meeting held in Acapulco, Mexico in August 2002

Cooperation with APEC

Representatives of each economy at the 2nd APEC Ministerial Meet-ing on Women held in Guadalajara, Mexico in September 2002

First EU-Japan Consultation on Gender Equality

Gender equality was identified as an important goal in the Action Plan for EU-Japan Cooperation adopted at the EU-Japan Summit held in December 2001. In line with this action plan, the first EU-Japan Consultation on Gender Equality was held in Brussels, Belgium on November 29, 2002.

Dr. Mariko Bando, Director-General and Ms. Aya Murakami, Director, Gender Equality Promotion Division of the Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet Office attended the Consultation from the Japanese side. Ms. Pavan-Woolfe, Director-General and Ms. Donnelly, Director, Gender Equality Division, Employment and Social Issues Bureau of the European Commission headed the EU delegation. Japan and EU introduced the measures being taken in the fields of judicial measures, gender disparities in employment and social policies, violence against women, and women's participation in policy and decision-making processes, and exchanged opinions based upon them. Continued cooperation between Japan and the EU was reconfirmed at this meeting.

Cooperation with the Council of Europe

Japan is the sole Asian observer nation of the Council of Europe. There are many cases worth studying in Europe where measures tackling gender equality were implemented at a particularly early stage. The Cabinet Office has attended the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men of the Council of Europe since 2001 with the aim of exchanging opinions and information with representatives of each country.

Dr. Mariko Bando, Director-General and Ms. Aya Murakami, Director, Gender Equality Promotion Division of the Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet Office attended the Twenty-sixth Meeting of the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men held in Strasbourg, France on November 27-29, 2002. The Steering Committee engaged in deliberation on proposed Recommendation on Balanced Participation of Women and Men in Political and Public Decision-making, and follow-up to Recommendations on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation. Director-General Bando's presentation introduced measures being taken towards gender equality in Japan.