Japanese women are in demand as never before. "Women have the greatest potential," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently told media, "and allowing them to demonstrate their full abilities is the core of our growth strategy." He must be pleased by the recent news flow. Even Japan's conservative financial companies are taking women executives more seriously.
Japan can increase its female workforce by about one million if it takes steps to improve the working environment for women raising children, the government said in its annual economic and fiscal white paper on Friday. The white paper, submitted to the day's cabinet meeting by Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari, stressed the importance of encouraging women and elderly people to work in order to tackle the problem of a shrinking labor force, which has been constraining Japan's economic growth.
Some 65% of global car purchases are decided by women, while in Japan Nissan is increasingly courting female consumers through new-look dealerships and staffing. In the Tokyo suburb of Fuchu, a pilot dealership managed by women underwent a design transformation this month to make the shopping experience more welcoming and easier. Called the “Ladies First” project, CEO Carlos Ghosn said the plan will broaden across Japan.
Japanese company Brandear has come up with an innovative service that lets the broken-hearted erase all remnants of their failed relationships. The ‘Heartbreak Box’ is a cardboard box that is specially designed for you to ship your former lover’s belongings in. It also helpfully contains a Heartbreak Guidebook, tissues and bubble wrap that will come in handy when sorting through your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend’s items.
Japanese retailers are vying to cash in on the country's drive for energy-savings this winter season by offering a new selection of thermal underwear. Major clothing retailer Uniqlo is expanding its lineup of popular winter underwear to include products for toddlers. Retail chain Seiyu has developed a new line of thermal underwear at a 20 percent discount to last year. Stores are expecting higher demand for winter underwear as consumers prepare to turn down the heat in the face of power rate hikes.
A new television series has shed light on the bizarre Japanese trend for 'bagel heads'. The extraordinary look, which is created by injecting saline into the forehead, then pressing in the centre of the swollen area with a thumb, is a hit on the country's underground body modification scene. The dramatic results of the two-hour treatment last just 16-24 hours, after which the saline is absorbed by the body and the forehead reduces back to its normal size.
AKB48 has reshaped the landscape of youth culture in modern Japan. The pop-idol group's rapid rise to stardom across a wide array of formats has provided the country's children with a fairly straightforward path to commercial success: fame is ultimately achieved by attracting a broad fan base via popular vote. Such a strategy encourages young people today to chase dreams of being in the spotlight that many Japanese would have shunned years ago.
Photos are everything for Yuka Obara, a well-known Japanese blogger who insists anything showing her online be picture-perfect -- especially because it's hard these days to delete poor-quality photos once on the web. The 20-year-old Obara, known by her online profile Yunkoro, has honed her art for four years in line with Japan's cult of the "kawaii" or cute, which has given rise to creative profile picture-taking.
One in 10 Japanese companies has a female president, according to a wide-ranging survey by a credit research agency. Tokyo Shoko Research said it conducted a poll in July on 2.09 million firms of all sizes and found that 10.1 percent were headed by women.
More women are making their mark in a once male-dominated corporate workplace. Both single and married, Japanese women are earning more, analysts say, and they're not afraid to spend what they earn. After 25 years working as an accounting assistant in a leading construction company, Asako Nakano decided two summers ago that she needed to stabilize her retirement plans. So she took the plunge and bought a condominium.