Women in general, and working mothers in particular, occupy a strategic position in Japan’s welfare capitalism. In order to generate economic growth amid the shrinking labor force, policy makers have recognized the importance of pushing women into the labor market. At the same time, the low birth rate has propelled them to pursue work-life balance policy as well as childcare policy. Recently, the “womenomics” discourse also penetrated growth strategy, which justifies positive action measures. Nevertheless, these seemingly working-women friendly polices have not yielded concrete results.
Mari Miura is Professor of Political Science at Faculty of Law at Sophia University in Tokyo. She has published widely on Japan’s political system including party politics and welfare policies. Among her recent publications is: Welfare Through Work. Conservative Ideas, Partisan Dynamics, and Social Protection in Japan (Cornell University Press, 2012).