Partner spotlight: Japan


The partnership between the Government of Japan and UN Women has grown steadily, closely linked to the national gender and development priorities identified by Japan, and the country’s leading role regionally and internationally. The Government of Japan recognizes the role of women in contributing significantly to the national economy, as well as in the household. This has led to greater investment in women’s labour force participation, women’s leadership and retention, both in the public and private sectors. The application of a gender perspective and policies is impacting the Japanese society and economy, and empowering women within Japan and beyond.

Japan’s development cooperation priorities are also imbued with a gender equality perspective that has translated into support for UN Women’s work on women’s and girls’ education, building food security for women and families, and ensuring that efforts in crisis response and management consider women’s leadership, accessibility to resources, and need for protection.

Since the establishment of UN Women, the Government of Japan has contributed to the entity, and there has been an upward trend in Japan’s regular and other resources contributions over the last three years. Between 2011 and 2018, Japan provided an aggregate contribution of USD 116.7 million. In 2018, Japan was the ninth-largest regular resources contributor with USD 5.5 million and the fourth-largest total government contributor with USD 24.4 million.

In his role as a UN Women HeForShe 10x10x10 IMPACT Champion, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is a strong advocate for gender equality and UN Women. He is committed to strengthening the partnership between Japan and UN Women, enhancing leadership and employment opportunities for women in Japan, and leveraging international aid to empower women and end sexual violence in conflict. Under the Prime Minister’s leadership, Japan’s partnership with UN Women and prioritization of disaster risk reduction, peace and security, humanitarian aid, economic empowerment, and ending violence against women will continue to generate change in the lives of women and their communities.

Together we have achieved

Maha Aasi Emm Ala’a, 48, Syrian refugee woman enrolled in the UN Women’s cash-for-work programme as tailor in the ‘Oasis Center for Resilience and Empowerment of Women and Girls’ operated by UN Women in the Za’atari refugee camp. Credits: UN Women/Lauren Rooney

From where I stand: “Always rely on yourself”
Maha Aasi Emm Ala’a, a Syrian refugee, came to the UN Women–run women’s centre in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp with severe depression after her husband passed away. She received counselling and found tailoring work through the cash-for-work programme.

Hikmah Bafagih. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

In the words of Hikmah Bafagih: “Our vision is to create an inclusive Islam; having people oppose me is very common”
Meet Hikmah Bafagih, from Malang in East Java, Indonesia. University professor, community organizer, peacebuilder, counsellor, mother, wife—Bafagih has many roles. She is also a religious leader, steering the women’s wing of the biggest Muslim organization in Indonesia. Her vision is to create an inclusive Islam, and she is used to opposition. Steadfast in her belief that women are solidarity makers, she works to empower women in her community, supports LGBT people and people living with HIV.

In the words of Rabiha Khalloof: “Our society needs women to help future generations succeed”
Rabiha Khalloof is a 47-year-old Syrian refugee who fled Syria almost three years ago. She is among 520 Syrian women refugees in Lebanon who have received training and economic assistance from the third phase of a UN Women project, funded by the Government of Japan and the Ford Foundation. Today Khalloof is earning an income for the first time and aspires to teach other women to start their own businesses.

Mosammat Kamrunnahar, one of the Polli Shomaj Women in Dinajpur Zaman. Photo: UN Women/Snigdha Zaman

Women in Bangladesh bolster efforts to turn the tide on rising extremism
The idea is simple, and makes perfect sense: when women are empowered economically and are part of decision-making in their communities, societies are more cohesive and more peaceful. Members of “Polli Shomaj Women” [community-based women’s group] come from all walks of life—teachers, mothers, students, local elites, and members of the local government—and get together to discuss how to prevent violent extremism in their own communities.

Nahimana Fainesi.  Photo: UN Women/Catianne Tijerina

From where I stand: Nahimana Fainesi
Nahimana Fainesi fled her native Burundi and has been living in the Lusenda refugee camp in Democratic Republic of Congo, where she works as a farmer in a UN Women cash-for-work programme.

Partner profile: Japan

Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Taro Kono. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Taro Kono, former Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs
Japan was UN Women's ninth-largest core contributor in 2017. In an interview, Japan’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Taro Kono, explains why gender equality is a top priority in foreign and development policy. Read more»