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Japan's female employment tops 50% for 1st time in half-century

Labor drought brings more women into workforce, but mostly in service jobs

Japan's female employment rate has tended to drop for women in their 30s as they have and raise children, then rise again in their 40s.
A worker retools a production line at an Aisin Seiki autoparts plant. Japanese manufacturers are taking steps to attract more women, but most still go into services. (Photo by Yukihiro Omoto)

TOKYO -- For the first time in five decades, over half of Japan's women were employed in 2018, new data showed Friday, amid a worsening labor shortage and continuing efforts to accommodate working mothers.

The country had 29.46 million women at work, or 51.3% of the total, up 870,000 from a year earlier, according to a labor force survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. The growth was nearly double the 450,000-person increase in working men.

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