How can corporate Japan help revitalize the economy by creating greater gender equality in the workplace?
That was the hot topic at the Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) Summit 2013 on February 22nd in Tokyo, which addresses the overall theme of reformulating the design of Japanese society for the future. While progress had been made to create a more women-friendly business atmosphere in Japan, there remains a belief that the Japanese work force will remain dominated by men. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.'s CEO/President, Taro Iwamoto, PhD, has a different vision.
Dr. Iwamoto shared with summit participants his view that gender empowerment will not happen by waiting for systems to change. Rather, he noted that female and younger workers are uniquely positioned as change agents in Japanese culture, as they can bypass the existing systems and ways of thinking in ways that men do not.
He also noted that, "What is lacking in Japan is leadership. Rather than discussing the issues surrounding women through various individual elements, it is critical to address the overarching issue of how to promote and develop global leaders who can pursue innovation that guides the growth of society and businesses.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical has never simply followed trends or tread well-traveled paths. Dr. Iwamoto described how Otsuka seeks to extend its innovative edge and global competitiveness by placing female managers in positions of real responsibility and accountability as leaders of global teams.
Dr. Iwamoto personally, as well as the Human Resources department, mentor talented and ambitious women to fulfill Dr. Iwamoto's vision to increase women executives at Otsuka Pharmaceutical to 50% by 2020.