Today, understanding each individual and recognizing difference such as the dimension of race, ethnicity, and gender is becoming less of an issue in the corporate world. Though these have positive views, there are still criticisms and some are still very sensitive about this issue.
In 2017, minority groups in Japan began changing their views in terms of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) topics. An article from Japan Times states, “From the progression of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Womenomics agenda, to the passing of legislation to protect individuals against bullying based on gender identity and sexual orientation, Japan is beginning to make strides in the equality arena.” This might still take some time to be resolved since the country has been very slow to make progress in gender equality. A deep-rooted perception and unconscious bias against women in the workplace still exists and is difficult to eliminate. As of 2018, the world economic forum ranked Japan as 110th in gender equality.
The government and private sectors is taking numerous actions to make the Japanese workplace more diverse and inclusive. In fact, it has been observed that there are changes in people’s thinking and in labor market in having a greater diversity and inclusion.
It is also mentioned in Japan Times that “Younger people are more receptive to the idea of working with people of different nationalities and cultures, according to a recent online survey. Companies such as Fast Retailing and Mercari have such cosmopolitan workforces. With well-respected global companies such as Fast Retailing and Mercari — one of the few former unicorns originating in Japan — leading the pack, we can expect more people to become receptive to a diverse workplace.”
Moreover, Leland Gaskins, a book author, suggests that, cultural differences in Japan have solutions to get through with these problems.
In his book, “Step Up: Overcoming Cross-Cultural Differences Between Japanese and Western Business people,” Gaskins provides a roadmap for understanding when and why these disconnects arise and for figuring out how to work effectively in diverse environments, in spite of different values and different communication styles. The comparison of the Japanese and Western approach to different aspects of work and problem-solving is also discussed in the book.
Will Japan become a truly diverse and inclusive society?
Even though Japan is not that open and friendly to different countries and cultures, they are still trying to resolve this issue. Some of the companies and even the citizens are now embracing culture diversity.
Diversity makes for stronger teams and better business: the more diverse, the more growth. The dilemma that Japan faces may now have a solution and might be overcome soon.