The enactment of the Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace has raised interest in the labour force participation ratio of women. According to the Labour Force Survey of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the labour force ratio of 30-34-year-old women reached 71.2% in 2015, up 20.6 percentage points from 1985.


Regionally, the labour force ratios of 30-34-year-old women in the Hokkaido, Minami-Kanto and Kinki regions in 1985 were low, in the 40-45% range, but the regional disparities have shrunk since then, with the Hokuriku region surpassing 80% in 2015.


Hokkaido, Kinki, and Tokai were below average, at 70.1%, 67.1%, and 66.3% respectively. Hokkaido, Minami-Kanto, and Kinki showed high gains of 29.8, 28.5, and 24.9 percentage points respectively.

Comparing the Hokuriku region, which has the highest labour force participation ratio, to the main European countries, it trails Sweden in the 55-59 and 60-64 age groups, but leads it in the 20-24 and 25-29 age groups. Hokuriku is at about the same level as Sweden, which is considered to have the highest level of participation in the work force by women.


■ Labour Force Survey. The labour force is the sum of the number of the employed and the completely unemployed. The non-labour force population is the sum of students, homemakers, and others (the elderly, etc.).