The Equal Employment Opportunity Law of Japan: Three Decades of Changes

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Piyawan Asawarachan


The Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEOL) of Japan was adopted on April 1, 1986 following Japan’s signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1981 and its ensuing ratification in 1985. In the three decades since the law was put into effect, the EEOL has undergone three amendments - in 1997, 2006 and 2013, each having an approximate 10-year span to the next. 

This article examines the evolution of the EEOL, beginning with its development, leading to the enactment of the original EEOL, to the major issues and controversies that have spawned debates leading up to each revision. Based on primary sources and relevant literature, the results showed that even women themselves have questioned the viability of the notion of equality under the law. Nevertheless, this study shows the dynamism of the approach to creating equality in the context of employment in Japanese society.


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Author Biography

Piyawan Asawarachan, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University

Faculty of Liberal Arts, Lecturer


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