(Bloomberg) -- Japan will aim to have women make up at least 30% of directors at major firms by 2030, according to a draft plan issued by the Gender Equality Bureau that said more diversity can contribute to innovation and growth. 

The government will press for the target to be included in the regulations for companies listed on the Prime Market Index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, according to the document that was released Monday. The first step would be to require at least one woman on the board of all the index’s firms by 2025. 

Japan has sought to bring more women into the workforce to make up for its aging and shrinking population, but has long struggled to meet its targets on diversity in management. It ranked 116 out of 146 countries in last year’s Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum, far below all of its Group of Seven peers.

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Companies would be urged to form a plan to reach the board targets, according to the draft. As of last year, about 18.7% of Prime Market companies had no female directors. Women made up 15.5% of directors at the largest companies in Japan in 2022, compared with 31.3% in the US, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 

The government will also encourage women to start their own companies, with the target of having women make up 20% of entrepreneurs benefiting from a government support program, up from the current 8.8%.

Financial independence for women is another target of the new plan, with many Japanese women forced into poorly paid irregular jobs after having children, meaning single mothers can often face poverty.

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The government will consider expanding an obligation to reveal data on pay disparities between men and women from companies with more than 301 employees to those with more than 101 employees. Japan has one of the widest pay gaps among developed countries surveyed by the OECD.

The government will expand support for companies that switch employees from irregular to full employee status and press for equal pay, regardless of status, according to the document. It will also offer support for retraining in IT skills.

The draft policy calls for more flexible working, the division of household tasks between men and women and the creation of a society where it’s a matter of course for fathers to take paternity leave. 

(Updates with chart.)

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