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Cablegate: Embassy Tokyo Celebrates International Women's Day

VZCZCXRO6590
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0712 0770830
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 170830Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2610
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 2247
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 2170
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 6679
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 5185
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 9071
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 0352
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 7283

UNCLAS TOKYO 000712

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL JA CH RU
SUBJECT: EMBASSY TOKYO CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

REF: STATE 26653

1. (U) Ambassador Schieffer hosted on March 4 Embassy Tokyo's
first-ever event in honor of International Women's Day. More
than 180 women, including Japanese Diet members, government
officials, academics, members of the press and female
diplomats from 25 nations, attended the inaugural event.
Guests of honor included Imperial Highness Princess Takamado,
Minister of State for Gender Equality and Social Affairs Yoko
Kamikawa, and former Minister of Defense Yuriko Koike.

2. (U) In his welcoming remarks, the Ambassador highlighted
the great progress women have made in attaining equality in
the United States, noting women currently make up more than
fifty percent of the student body in both U.S. law and
medical schools. Minister Kamikawa emphasized Japan's
efforts to bring more women into the workforce and the GOJ's
adoption of the Work-Life Balance Charter in December 2007.
Kamikawa explained the non-binding charter encourages Japan's
private sector to adopt more family-friendly policies.
Former Defense Minister Minister Koike noted the strides
Japanese women have made since gaining suffrage in 1945 and
said women now make up more than 20% of Japan's Diet.

3. (U) Many guests expressed their surprise that the U.S.
Embassy would host an event in honor of International Women's
Day, saying it typically was the Russians or the Chinese that
celebrate the occasion. Others expressed their enthusiastic
support for the event and encouraged Embassy representatives
to continue it in the future.

4. (U) In addition to the reception, on March 21, Embassy
Tokyo will co-organize with Japan Women's University an
international symposium entitled "Creating a Second Chance
for Women: Helping Mothers Get Back to Work." The symposium
will feature preeminent leaders and experts in the field from
the U.S., Japan and Korea. Post expects 250 participants
including business leaders, government officials, academics
and media. Post is also sponsoring two U.S. experts who are
traveling around the country speaking on this subject to
audiences outside of Tokyo.
SCHIEFFER

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