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Nordic-Baltic 8 (NB8) plus Japan Meeting on Active Participation by Women

August 30, 2015
1 The ''Nordic-Baltic 8 (NB8) plus Japan'' meeting on ''active participation by women'' was held in Tokyo on August 29. Japanese Ambassador for Women, Ms. Kazuko Shiraishi, participants in the ''World Assembly for Women in Tokyo (WAW!2015)'' from NB8 countries, and officials of the Embassies in Tokyo of the NB8 countries from which no one took part in WAW!2015, attended to exchange views on roles of governments to improve work-life balance.

2 During the meeting, Ambassador Shiraishi first mentioned that Japan attaches importance to the Nordic-Baltic region as a part of its diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map, and would like to contribute to solving various challenges facing the international community through cooperation with NB8 countries which share with Japan fundamental values such as the rule of law. She further added that ''active participation by women'' is one of the pillars of cooperation between NB8 countries and Japan, and explained the initiative of setting forth the ''action plans'' by companies under the Act on promotion of participation by women in occupational life, and the so-called ''Yu-katsu'' (utilization of time in the evening) initiative, both of which are measures taken by the Government of Japan to improve work-life balance.

3 The participants had active discussions while introducing initiatives of respective countries and presenting expectations and proposals regarding the roles of governments to improve work-life balance. Especially, they emphasized that it was important for a government to take lead in changing mind-set in a society to promote active participation by women. In this context, for example, they pointed out the importance of policy measures such as advancing legislation to increase the ratio of women in the boards of companies and providing incentives (including financial compensation) to encourage men to take paternity leave.

4 It is expected that the results of the discussions of the meeting will be utilized for future discussions and cooperation among government officials under the framework of ''NB8 plus Japan.''

(Note) The participants in the ''World Assembly for Women in Tokyo (WAW!2015)'' from NB8 countries
  • Finland: Mr. Pekka Haavisto, Member of Parliament (former Minister for International Development)
  • Iceland: Dr. Irma Erlingsdottir, Head of the Center for Gender Research
  • Latvia: Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former President
  • Sweden: Mr. Fredrik Hillelson, Founder and CEO of Novare Human Capital, Member of Delegation for Gender Equality in Working Life

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