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Nobuko Kobayashi: It's time to get real about gender equality in corporate Japan

Country cannot waste anymore time in tapping women's workforce potential

Japanese executives typically come from the time when elementary school children's backpacks were uniformly black for boys and red for girls.

About 150 years after it opened up to the rest of the world, Japan is one of the globe's most developed, prosperous and democratic countries. But in some ways it remains a place apart, especially when it comes to the role of women in leadership posts.

Japan ranks a dismal 114th out of 144 countries, according to the Global Gender Gap Index published by the World Economic Forum last year.

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