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Japan is considering mandatory disclosure of gender pay, proportion of female managers – sources

A woman wearing a protective face mask enters a building in a business district amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask enters a building in a business district amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Tokyo, Japan November 18, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

March 24, 2022

By Kaori Kaneko and Takahiko Wada

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is considering disclosing average wages by gender and the proportion of female managers in companies’ annual reports, as it seeks to close the pay gap between men and women, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The mandatory rule could be implemented as early as fiscal year beginning April 2023, the people said.

The move would be part of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s efforts to narrow income inequality and achieve a more equal distribution of wealth for a sustainable economic recovery.

The government is also considering companies disclosing the proportion of male workers on maternity leave, said the sources, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

“The pay gap between men and women is an economic and financial problem and the prime minister has a sense of crisis,” said a third government official.

“Other countries are moving at tremendous speed. Japan has to go about three times faster than before (to catch up),” said the official.

A body overseen by the Financial Services Agency will prepare a report on the measures this spring.

“We are discussing the issues and nothing has been decided yet,” an agency official said.

When it comes to equal pay, Japan lags behind its major competitors. The gender pay gap was the widest of the Group of Seven (G7) countries, according to a survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

It was ranked 120th out of 156 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Index and scored poorly on women’s economic empowerment and opportunities, and political empowerment.

The average salary for women working full-time was 251,800 yen ($2,083) a month in 2020 — not quite 75% of the 338,800 yen earned by men, according to Health Ministry data.

In Japan, listed companies are required to file securities reports within three months of fiscal year-end, with many of them settling their accounts in March. ($1=120.90 yen)

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Takahiko Wada; Writing by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

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DUSTIN JONES

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