Women can’t live well in Japan⁉②:Women in Japan earn only 75% of what men earn

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The other day I explained the problems of gender inequality in Japan. There are two very big problems right now. They are the low salaries of women and the low number of women politicians. Today I would like to talk about this problem of wages.

In Japan, women earn only 75% of what men earn

Surprisingly, it is difficult for women to earn the same amount of money as men in Japan. The wage gap really exists and is 25%. It is not a low inequality.

But this is a trick of the numbers. Think about it. For example, if a woman and I entered a company, would we be paid different wages? No way! The company pays the same price to us. Certainly the difference in salary exists. But let’s consider the formula. First of all, compare the average income of men and women in Japan with the average income of only men in Japan. In other words, this is average information in Japan. In this case, it is better to consider the environment of women in Japanese society as a whole to understand the correct cause. So the problems of Japanese women are like this;

  1. Japanese women tend to have to leave their jobs when they become pregnant. And when they finish raising their children, they are more likely to become low-wage workers because it is difficult for them to take advantage of their previous working careers.
  2. For a long time in Japan, working women were considered poor women whose husbands could not support their wives. As a result, the culture of working women was born 30 years ago, but many Japanese still hold traditional culture in high esteem. For this reason, some Japanese do not want women to be managers and executives. That’s why they can’t earn high salaries. This is the reason for the income disparity with men.

Now, there are other reasons for this, but I’m sure they would like to know whether women’s economic problems are currently improving or not.

The answer is YES.

Economic inequality is improving, but reform is slow

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According to this data, Japanese women are working more and more every year. This is because society has provided a comfortable environment in which women can work. For example, with a childcare leave system, women can return to work after one year of childcare.

Men also used to be embarrassed about taking care of their children. Because people judged such a man so poor that his wife could not take care of the children. Today, however, men who take care of children are considered wonderful human beings.


The number of women directors is also increasing: in 2016 there were only 6.3% women directors, but this figure has increased to 7.7% in 2019. The government is trying to create a more women-friendly society with a 30% target. But while the situation is improving, the situation in Japan is very similar to that in Europe 30 years ago. Many Western women would be surprised by this situation. But reform is not happening fast enough. It is also true that many Japanese are more concerned about traditional values.


For example, according to this document, the percentage of respondents who agree with the idea that “men should work and women should do the housework” is like this;

  • 2007:44.8%
  • 2009:41.3%
  • 2012:51.6%
  • 2015:44.6%

This is the same as the result of this U.S. presidential election. There are still many conservatives in this country.

How should foreign women work?

As a foreign woman, the working environment in Japan is difficult in some respects. But what kind of company should you work for if you still want to work in Japan? There are two types of companies.

Japanese companies that take women into consideration.

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This is a ranking created by the famous Japanese business magazine, “Toyo Keizai”, which describes companies that prepare a comfortable environment for women to work. According to the ranking, Fujitsu is in first place, and Sony is also in seventh. Sony hires relatively many foreigners.

However, this ranking shows that many of the companies are big companies. These companies usually hire foreigners in foreign branches. So it takes a lot of effort for a foreign woman to get a job in Japan. First of all, they need to graduate from a Japanese university.

Working in the Japanese branch of a foreign company

Most of the companies that care about women’s rights are European and American. However, I have the impression that most of them work in IT or as general consultants. If you have studied Japanese culture at university, you may not be able to meet the demands of your company.

If your Japanese is good, there is a demand for video game translation jobs, but if you are going to live in Japan for a long time, you should think about your career plan. However, if you plan to live in Japan for a long time, you should also think about your career plans later, because the translation industry may not be a stable job.

Have you understood the employment situation in Japan?

Next, we will discuss the participation of women in politics. If they analyze Japanese society as hackers and take action, they can lead a more stable life than uninformed foreigners. I urge you to gather a lot of information. And we must learn to read Japanese language newspapers as much as possible. I would like you to gather other information besides my blog and make a plan.

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