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May 1, 2023
On Monday, March 6, Tokyo’s Foreign Correspondents' Club held an event to commemorate the publication of Diversity and Inclusion in Japan: Issues in Business and Higher Education, by the Center for Inclusive Leadership’s director, Professor Yoshiki Shinohara, and its executive director, Professor Lailani Alcantara.
This event was a round-table discussion on the content of the book with attendees. In attendance were Suvendrini Kakuchi of UK-based educational media University World News as facilitator as well as co-author of the book, President Yuko Takahashi of Tsuda College. All four took the podium and discussed the challenges and current status of diversity and inclusion in Japanese society.
Professor Alcantara said, "The purpose of this book is to promote a deeper understanding of diversity and inclusion and was written from the perspective of business and education. I hope this book will serve as an opportunity to deepen discussions on D&I in Japan." During the two-and-a-half-hour event, the panelists discussed age, gender, nationality, and disability as well as their inclusion in workplaces and educational settings.
Kakuchi addressed the speakers, “You said that making everyone feel like a part of the organization is very important in promoting inclusion. In Japan, don’t people tend to have a strong sense of belonging to their organization?” In response to the question, Professor Shinohara said, “There is certainly something like that left over from the Showa era. But it is not enough to just feel a sense of belonging when it comes to inclusion. It is even more important for everyone to feel that their uniqueness is being put to good use." Professor Alcantara added, "More than feeling a sense of belonging, it is important to consider whether the individual's individuality is recognized by the organization. It is also a very important point whether it is placed in the right place where it can be utilized."
One participant addressed the professors, "In this day and age, appointing women to managerial positions at companies can be seen as performance in a sense. What do you think about that?" Tsuda College President Takahashi replied, “There is no denying that. At the moment, female top executives at many companies are not recruited from within, but rather are headhunted from outside to increase the ratio of female executives. This is also a problem and one reason why female managers fail to emerge.” She added, "However, appointing a female director is at the same time, a first step."
The reason for the event, the book, Diversity and Inclusion in Japan: Issues in Business and Higher Education （1st Edition Diversity and Inclusion in Japan Issues in Business and Higher Education Edited By Lailani Alcantara, Yoshiki Shinohara Copyright 2023）, was released as an open source book and may be viewed by anyone.
Open access here:
You can watch the event on FCCJ’s official YouTube channel.
Book Break: “Diversity and Inclusion in Japan” - A Round table discussion by authors
https://youtu.be/lrhWWZLGXmQ (1hr 10min)