It's encouraging to see Japan trying to fight sexism and racism in its culture. It's discouraging to see it doing so in the worst possible way: mandatory hiring quotas. The Yomiuri Shimbun (registration required) reports:
The Education, Science and Technology Ministry will require universities and public research institutions to set quotas for the number of female and non-Japanese researchers at their institutions, according to ministry sources.Is that disproportionately low compared to the percentage of women among the people applying for research positions? Who knows?
There were about 88,000 Japanese female academics and researchers in March 2003, or 11 percent of total Japanese researchers.
The number of female researchers is increasing, but is the lowest among 30 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member states.Wow, you mean the number of women hires is already increasing, even without a government program? So why create one?
...Keio University Professor Fumiko Yonezawa, who became the first female president of the Physical Society of Japan in 1996, said: "A quota for minorities is sometimes necessary. Few people in research organizations will publicly oppose it, so the policy will be effective."Great. As if female and foreign researchers don't already face enough challenges succeeding in a Japanese male-dominated environment, now they'll have the stigma of being mandatory diversity hires.
I'm all for Japan becoming more diverse and tolerant. But affirmative-action quotas are one piece of Western culture it would do well not to borrow.