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Today (May 10), I was given an opportunity to do press briefing at the Foreign Press Center of Japan. The topic was “Womenomics: Trump Card for Japan’s Resurrection.”  As I have been writing Japan case study for the Education & Skills Global Agenda Council (in parallel with Gender Parity Japan task force–though informally), I have been  reading various materials, interviewing people working on the issue in a variety of organizations, and thinking about the solutions to broader diversity issue. In fact, I am scheduled to moderate the panel at East Asia Forum  on this topic.

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to address the Foreign Press group, as the meeting with foreign press tends to be challenging and at the same time, very inspiring.  I also feel  we have momentum to move diversity issue forward in Japan, though it has been  “discussed” for over a decade,  with not much impact. So I thought probably I could get new insights/perspectives to move it forward through their questions and comments.

As expected, they asked a lot of interesting/insightful questions. Some questions I had not thought about and thus I did not respond well on the spot.  Questions such as “Kawaii” concept as potential obstacles to womenomics,  possibility of changing the cultural factors so ingrained in the society, immigration policy, effectiveness of 3-year parental leave etc. made me think not only on the spot, but thereafter.  As I recall, I did not give quick, straight answers to many of the questions–in other words, I did not practice what I preach, that is, “Answer questions only, no more, no less.”  But from the experience, I learn a lot.     The questions have left a lot for me to think about, which is very helpful.

I believe the video and the slides will be uploaded next week at their website.  (I will report more on this once it is uploaded.)

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    • Joel Legendre RTL France broadcasting
    • May 11th, 2013

    Thank you very much for your very interesting lecture, comments and explanations at FPC Japan. I’ll be happy to hear from your comments. I wanted to emphasise that you raised the most important factor in women empowerment: make your own choice, your own opinion, do not just follow. Here is a link of a comment I wrote a few days ago. It might be a western French perspective viewing Japan’s demographic problem and about the situation offered to the working women in Japan. But as many foreign journalists, I reported a lot about this topic in the last decade. Sincerely.
    http://asiangazette.blogspot.jp/2013/05/babies-are-not-welcome-in-japan-without.html

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