Japan’s New Gender Pay Gap Disclosure Requirements. Important News.

Japan is stepping up Gender Gap Disclosure Reporting. Among OECD economies, Japan has one of the largest pay gaps between men and women at 22% (OECD data). New amendments were published on July 8, 2022. Closing Japan’s gender gap is good news, even if expected after years of government efforts to promote and tackle the problem.

The sources of recent news and information from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) website are mostly in Japanese.  If there are English materials on specific laws, topics, updates, etc, Verse endeavors to provide them in this blog. Again, the Ministry offers an English MHLW site that provides some important basic information.

The MHLW site regularly publishes various labor / workforce survey results and statistics. These address levels of pay, among other data. Regarding the  July 2022 “Publication of the results of the 2021 Basic Survey on Equal Opportunity Employment”, the website contains these links, among others for those who want to assess more details: Note, these are all in Japanese.

Main webpage with links to all associated data

July 2022 Press Release on Gender Equality and Key Data 

The Study Overview Findings

Verse Corporation publishes articles on timely issues in Japanese Social Welfare and Labour Law.  

The Japanese government has made the gender gap an important platform for several years now, with significant momentum that started during the Abe years. The MHLW’s Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace (APWPAW), now includes an annual gender pay gap disclosure requirement for large employers. 

As reported by Verse, the government has been attacking the issue of women entering and remaining in the workplace in various ways. For example, improvements in the Child and Family Care Act are designed to do exactly that. 

Companies with over 300 employees must now disclose “promptly” pay differences between men and women, annually and within three months of the end of the fiscal year. It is anticipated the requirements will extend to companies with over 100 workers in the future. The disclosure must show differences in annual average wages by gender for the total employee workforce, and for specific groups of employees, of course including full-time (“regular employees”) and part-time or those with fixed-term contracts (“non-regular employees”).

Further, the gap analysis results must be written in companies’ gender-based “general employer action plans,” every year.  The APWPAW requires this for all companies with over 100 employees (prior to April 1, 2022, mandatory only for companies with over 300 employees). Plans are advised to contain objectives and measures to improve gender equality in the workplace on a specific timeline. Disclosure and plans must be published and made available to the public, in addition to the requirement of submission to the local prefectural labor bureau for assessment.

The MHWL 2021 Gender Gap Survey

Some of the key findings from the study are as follows:

The “Basic Survey on Equal Employment” is conducted to ascertain the actual status of employment management with respect to equal treatment of men and women and balancing work and family life. In FY2021, companies and business sites nationwide were surveyed regarding the percentage of women in management positions and the use of childcare leave systems as of October 1, 2021.

  • The percentage of companies with female managers at the assistant manager level or above by position was 12.1% (13.1% in FY2020), 20.1% (20.8% in FY2020), and 21.0% (22.6% in FY2020) for companies with managers at the section manager level or above.
  • The percentage of female managers was 7.8% (8.4% in FY2020), 10.7% (10.8% in FY2020), and 18.8% (18.7% in FY2020) in managerial, section manager, and assistant manager positions, respectively.
  • Percentage of employees who took childcare leave: Female: 85.1% (81.6% in FY 2020). Male: 13.97% (12.65% in 2020)

Closing Japan’s gender gap is good news, from any perspective. From an obvious pay-equity fairness perspective, but also in terms of attracting foreign talent to Japan.