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.
Warning that Japan's overall labor population is projected to plunge to 56.83 million in 2030 from 65.77 million in 2013, the white paper called attention to the need to bring women with small children into the labor market. The paper noted that some 1.05 million women who cited mothering as the reason for not working can become part of the labor force if appropriate support is available. Such support measures can reduce the number of women in their 30s who stop working, it said.