Diplomatic Bluebook 2022

Chapter 3

Japan Strengthening Its Presence in the International Community

8 Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing gender inequalities. For this reason, the realization of gender equality and the promotion of women's empowerment have been prioritized as one of the most important issues in Japan and abroad, and it is vital to focus on various policies and measures for women and girls in building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the vulnerable position that women are placed in situations of conflict, it is also important for Japan to contribute actively to international efforts to prevent the use of sexual violence as a weapon in conflict, and to protect the human rights of women and promote the provision of relief and assistance to women. Against this backdrop, as clearly stated in the Fifth Basic Plan for Gender Equality, Japan will continue to contribute to the realization of gender equality and the promotion of women's empowerment while hosting international conferences on women and vigorously promoting assistance to developing countries through cooperation with other countries and international organizations.

(1) G7

Gender equality is positioned at the heart of an open, inclusive, and just society within the G7 process under the UK's Presidency, which sets out three priority items in this area: educating girls, empowering women, and ending violence against women and girls. The Carbis Bay G7 Summit Communique, issued by the G7 Cornwall Summit held in June, included, inter alia, the G7's pledge to allocate a total of 2.75 billion US dollars over the next five years to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

(2) G20

Under Italy's Presidency, the first G20 Conference on Women's Empowerment was held at Santa Margherita Ligure in August. Japan's Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment, Marukawa Tamayo, participated in the opening session online. In the Leaders' Declaration issued at the G20 Rome Summit in October, the leaders reaffirmed initiatives toward the resolution of various issues of women and girls being impacted disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic, including gender-based violence and unpaid care work, as well as actions and sharing of annual progress toward the Brisbane Goal.

(3) International Cooperation for the Empowerment of Women in Developing Countries

Through JICA and international organizations, Japan is engaged in educational support and human resource development, as well as efforts toward the economic empowerment of women and the elimination of gender-based violence in developing countries.

A Educational Support and Human Resource Development

At the G7 Charlevoix Summit held in 2018, Japan announced that it would be allocating 200 million US dollars to provide quality education and human resource development support to women and girls, and this has been implemented. At the 5th World Assembly for Women (WAW!), held in March 2019, Prime Minister Abe affirmed his pledge to provide high-quality education and career development opportunities to at least 4 million women and girls over the three years between 2018 and 2020 as a means to expand educational opportunities for women in developing countries. This is being steadily implemented. At the Global Education Summit held in July 2021, Japan also pledged to provide support for girls' education and human resource development to at least 7.5 million people in developing countries.

B Supporting Women Through JICA

To promote the economic empowerment of women, Japan has provided support to improve the lives of home-based workers in Pakistan, the majority of whom are low-income and female, and promoted the provision of financial services that meet the needs of women in Viet Nam. To promote peace and security for women, it also provides support to strengthen coordination as well as the capacity of organizations involved in addressing human trafficking in the Mekong region. At the same time, Japan has also launched cooperation aimed at protecting the survivors of gender-based violence, and providing support for them to gain independence in South Sudan and Pakistan.

C Dealing with Sexual Violence in Conflict

Sexual violence is used as a tactic of war, which cannot be overlooked. It is vital to put an end to impunity and to support victims of violence. Japan has been actively working to ensure that women do not suffer human rights violations in the 21st century. Japan prioritizes cooperation with international organizations such as the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG-SVC), and participating in discussions at the international fora.

In 2021, Japan provided financial support of approximately 0.9 million US dollars to the Office of the SRSG-SVC, supporting female victims of sexual violence in conflict and gender-based violence in the Middle East, where COVID-19 was spreading widely, including Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. In 2021, as in 2020, Japan contributed 2 million Euros to the Global Survivors Fund (GSF), founded by 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates Dr. Denis Mukwege and Ms. Nadia Murad and participates actively in the operation of GSF as a member of the Board. Furthermore, Japan continues to make voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court (ICC), earmarking contributions for victims of sexual violence and putting efforts into protecting victims of such violence.

In addition, Japan also provides support through UN Women.

(4) Initiatives in the UN

A Cooperation with UN Women

Japan has increased its contribution to UN Women from approximately 2 million US dollars in 2013 to 21 million US dollars in 2021 and strengthened cooperation with the entity. In particular, through UN Women, Japan supported awareness-raising activities among women and girls in developing countries on the prevention of COVID-19 infections, economic empowerment of women such as livelihood and entrepreneurship support during the COVID-19 pandemic, and measures against gender-based violence, including online violence. Japan also provides support for women's economic empowerment through job creation and vocational training, awareness-raising of women's rights and eliminating violence against women, and psychological and social support. To prevent violent extremism, Japan is engaging in resilient community-building by empowering women in South and Southeast Asia.

Vocational training for women in Turkey (Photo : UN Women)Vocational training for women in Turkey (Photo : UN Women)
B Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Since 1987, Japan has continued to provide members for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which comprises 23 independent experts. In September, Japan submitted its Ninth Periodic Report on the implementation of the Convention.

C United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women downsized and shortened its 64th session (CSW64) in March, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While relevant parties presented opening statements and the Commission adopted political declarations and resolutions, member states did not have opportunities to make remarks.

D Women, Peace and Security (WPS)

Japan continues to contribute to WPS in the Middle East, Africa and Asia through its financial contributions to international organizations, primarily UN Women and SRSG-SVC Office, in line with the second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (action plan toward the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and related resolutions on women, peace, and security). In addition, Japan conducts monitoring of the implementation status and compiles evaluation reports. In March, Japan hosted a webinar to commemorate International Women's Day, during which WPS was raised as one of the themes for discussion.