Re: A news item and subject which I just want to check out (96) June 23, 2023

In many parts of Honshu, the last few days have been sunny during the rainy season and some places recorded extremely hot days with temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius. It is expected that the seasonal rain front will return along the south coast from the latter half of this week, and cloudy and rainy days will increase in many places. Warning is required for “the localized torrential rain at the end of the rainy season”. Incidentally, June 21 is “the summer solstice”, the day with the longest daylight of the year, and summer is in full swing according to the calendar.
By the way, the Diet called on January 23 ended its 150-day session and adjourned on June 21. Of 60 bills submitted by the government, 58 were passed except for 2 bills in the current Diet session. A rate of passing a law was 96.7 % and has exceeded 96 % for three years in a row as an ordinary Diet. One of bills that were not enacted is amendment proposal of Financial Instruments and Exchange Act that abolishes quarterly reports that are mandatory to submit to the government and consolidates them into quarterly financial results. This reduces the administrative burden on the company. The abolishment of quarterly reports is scheduled on April 1, 2024, and the government and ruling party are aiming for passage in an autumn extraordinary Diet session.

■■Events and movements that I was interested in this week.
■The World Economic Forum announced gender equality index in 2023:
The World Economic Forum announced the “Gender Gap Index” which is designed to measure how much gender equality is achieved on June 21. Japan ranked 125th out of 146 countries surveyed, a record low. Incidentally, Japan ranked 116th the previous year. The lag in economic and political fields had an impact and it was the lowest ranking since the start of the announcement in 2006. Gender equality in politics is especially low. The background to the world’s 138th position in the political field is that no female prime minister has ever been born, in addition that the number of female legislators and cabinet members is significantly lower than other countries and regions. And in the economic field, there was no progress in equality regarding income and the percentage of corporate officers and managers, and Japan ranked123 th.
■Coping with diversity by companies:
In view of the current situation, the business field in Japan is belatedly gaining momentum to take diversity seriously. For instance, the movement that the government has a numerical target to increase the ratio of female executives to 30 % by 2030 for outside directors and institutional investors and proxy advisers introduce criteria to recommend against the appointment of top executives at companies with no female directors is urging companies to act quickly.
On the other hand, according to 388 companies, Nikkei 500 Stock Average constituents   with March fiscal year-end surveyed by Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, companies that don’t have female board members are down to 3 % now. However, it is said that 80 % of the companies have only outside directors in its breakdown and only 12.4 % of companies have directors who are promoted from within the company. There are still extremely few appointments from within the company, and there are aspects that suggest that supply is not keeping up with the needs of the times. Isn’t it a big responsibility on the part of the company and will we promote the development of in-house human resources regardless of gender in the future and are women also required to change their awareness in response to the changes of the times?
■Increase of the importance of STEM and lack of human resources in this field and low proportion of women: According to the World Competitiveness Ranking by IMD in 2022, Japan ranked 34th among
63 countries and regions. STEM, which is Science, Technology and Mathematics, has been particularly popular together with IT and DX. This has spread since the mid-2000s in the United States, but Japan is far behind. According to OECD statistics, the proportion of women among those who studied STEM at higher education institutions like universities and graduated was only 17 % in Japan in 2019, and falls short of the OECD average of 32 % by a large margin. Incidentally, according to a test in mathematics by International Mathematics and Science Study in 39 countries in 2019, there is little difference between men and women, and Japan is higher than the United States on average. By the way, according to Japan Information Technology Services Industry Association, the percentage of women in the IT workforce in Japan in 2021 was 22 % increased by 7 % in 10 years. According to similar research in Europe and the United States, the percentage in the United States was 22% decreased by 4% and the percentage in EU was 19% increased by 2%. It is possible for this field to realize the potential of women in the future, and reskilling is possible depending on their motivation. Anyway, more than 80 % of Japanese companies are lacking human resources who can handle DX and expectations for women are rising.
■Panasonic established DEI policy that serves as a policy for the strategy of human resources:
Panasonic established DEI policy that serves as a policy for the strategy of human resources in 2021. D is diversity, E is equity, and I is inclusion. It is said that putting efforts among them is equity. The underlining management philosophy is that “diversity of employees leads to higher value creation in business management”. It can be said that such basic principles are essential for companies to cope with diversification, multi-functionality and becoming multi-national and aim for development.
■”Suitability for work” and “symbiosis by habitat differentiation”:
There are deviations even between people of the same sex, and there is no denying that there are “differences” between the opposite sex. For instance, “the difference in physical strength” is the decisive factor in the world of professional sports like sumo wrestling. But in most other fields, “habitat differentiation” depending on “whether it is appropriate or not”, in other words, “symbiosis” is possible, regardless of gender. The problem is that “whether it is appropriate or not” is often judged by convention, precedent principle, notability and so on rather than by knowledge and experience. In this regard, job-typed employment is effective for utilizing one’s “aptitude”.
■Management resources are said to be “people, goods and money”, but information and knowledge that are intangible assets have added recently. Above all, people or human resources are the most important. There is a quote in the Guanzi, the classics of China, that “If you think a year ahead, plant grain. If you think 10 years ahead, plant a tree. If you think 100 years ahead, nurture people” if translated freely. The plating of hurriedly prepared human resources peels off quickly. Just like growing bonsai, it takes labor, time, and money. You also need to be patient. However, failure to do so will not lead to the prosperity of the company.

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