Promoting Diversity at Companies. By: Yajima, Yoko. 2017. Quarterly Journal of Public Policy & Management. Vol. 4.

Promoting workplace diversity is now an essential basic strategy for Japanese companies. The worker categories targeted by such efforts have expanded to include women, seniors, people with disabilities, foreigners, and LGBT people. However, the level of companies’ efforts and their stance on diversity vary significantly, making it difficult to understand the current situation and relevant issues. This paper divides companies into groups according to two criteria—whether they employ the concept of diversity and whether they specify target worker categories—and discusses the characteristics of each group. This paper also examines the significance of employing the concept of diversity. The analysis focuses on how it differs from the traditional ideas such as rights protection and equal opportunity and on what makes it unique than simply addressing each worker category. This paper concludes that one of advantages of employing the concept of diversity is that it shifts companies’ motive from support for minority groups to positive affirmation of a diverse workforce. Another advantage is that dealing in a cross-sectional manner with issues relevant to different worker categories gives a clue to figure out the direction and details of measures to be taken. This paper discusses how it might be practical to have a cross-sectional approach to issues facing different worker categories in exploring the significance of accepting diversity and promoting participation. It does not mean that attention to issues specific to each worker category is unnecessary. What is needed is to deal with these specific issues while embracing the comprehensive concept of diversity and taking cross-categorical views and measures.