This month's featured article
Making Japan a place where women can shine
EDAMURA Kazuma Research Fellow, NISTEP
INUI TomohikoFaculty Fellow, RIETI
NAKAMURO Makiko Associate Professor, Keio University
OZAWA Junko Cabinet Office
"Japan is becoming a super-ageing society, even as the number of children is falling. You might find yourself asking, ‘In such a country, where will you find those innovative and creative human resources?’ Ariana Huffington once said that if Lehman Brothers had been ‘Lehman Brothers and Sisters,’ the firm would have survived. Japan's corporate culture, by contrast, is still one of pinstripes and button-downs. After all, the female labour force in Japan is the most under-utilised resource. Japan must become a place where women shine. By 2020 we will make 30% of leading positions to be occupied by women."
—Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Speech, 22 January, 2014
The recent bottleneck facing Japanese economic growth is the labour shortage and low productivity growth. According to the growth accounting results from the Japan Industrial Productivity Database for 2014 by the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, average economic growth rate in the total economy (excluding housing and activities not classified elsewhere) was 0.94% per annum for the period 1990-2011, a substantial decline from 4.53% per annum in the period 1970-1990. This large decline in economic growth over the recent two decades was caused mainly by the negative labour service input growth and the sharp decline in total factor productivity (TFP) growth. The average labour service input growth rate was 1.17% per annum during 1970-1990, and -0.04% per annum during 1990-2011. With regard to TFP, the average growth rate slowed from 1.76% per annum during 1970-1990 to 0.20% per annum during 1990-2011.
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