Interview with Motegi Toshimitsu, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs

Date: Thursday, September 3, 2020

Motegi Toshimitsu, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
Motegi Toshimitsu, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

The Government of Japan is a vital partner in UN Women’s mission to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. UN Women and Japan work together in the areas of humanitarian action; women, peace and security; and preventing violent extremism in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Arab States. Japan is also a Champion of UN Women’s LEAP (Leadership, Access, Empowerment and Protection in Crisis Response) Flagship Programme as part of its support to humanitarian action. In 2019, Japan contributed to UN Women’s work with more than USD 17 million. In an interview with UN Women, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Motegi Toshimitsu, highlights why realizing gender equality is an important goal for Japan.

Why is gender equality important to your Government?

Women’s advancement will bring various viewpoints, together with new originality and ingenuity, to our economies and societies in the international community at large. It will also be a huge resource to energize our society. From this perspective, policy for promoting women’s advancement is a key driver in both economic and social policies.

The Government of Japan has been prioritizing promotion of women’s empowerment as one of its top agendas. We believe that the key to success in revitalization of society and economic development is to forge an environment in which everyone can work flexibly, considering the different situations of women and men, respectively.

How do you view UN Women’s global role for gender equality?

UN Women, a strong supporter of women’s empowerment in the world, is a reliable partner for Japan. UN Women played a leading role in the publishing of a policy brief by the UN Secretary-General on the impact of the global spread of COVID-19 on women. The suggested policy measures will be a good reference when the international community overcomes this unprecedented crisis.

Japan supports UN Women’s Women’s Leadership, Empowerment, Access and Protection in Crisis Response programme, also known as LEAP, under UN Women’s flagship programming initiatives. Japan, as one of the top donors to UN Women, has proactively contributed to the organization in terms of protection of women in crisis and women’s economic empowerment. We will continue to cooperate closely with UN Women.

How do women’s empowerment and gender equality feature in your multilateral aid policy?

Gender equality and women’s empowerment relate to all dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and are indispensable for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In this context, alongside “business and innovation” and “regional revitalization”, Japan has made “empowerment of next generations and women” one of three pillars to achieve the SDGs. Japan also prioritizes the following issues in its development cooperation:

  1. promotion of women’s and girls’ rights;
  2. improvement of an enabling environment for women and girls to reach their full potential; and
  3. advancement of women’s leadership in politics, economics, and other public fields.

By incorporating gender perspectives into all areas, Japan aims to expand the benefits of its development cooperation and maximize the effectiveness of such cooperation.

The COVID-19 crisis reminded us how important it is for the international community to unite and cooperate. It also revealed how vulnerable women and girls are. The Government of Japan will continue to cooperate with the international community to create a better society based on gender equality and women’s empowerment.