(Vatican Radio) Japan has announced wide-ranging reforms aimed at reversing two decades of economic stagnation, including getting more women into the workforce. It was a long-awaited announcement, with Japan's prime minister promising reforms, ranging from relaxing regulation of farmlands to allowing some Japanese families to hire foreign housekeepers.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan must tear down whatever is boxing it in.
The foreign workers would likely be domestic maids from nations such as the Philippines, who would find it easier to get a Japanese work permit. This reform aims to free up working families from looking after elderly parents and to help Japanese mothers to continue their professional careers.
Abe said getting more women into the workforce could stave off the problem of a shrinking population.
He wants major companies here to appoint at least one female board member each to confront Japan's culture of male leadership.
The reforms are the third package of measures to be unveiled since Abe returned to power as prime minister. But his party largely represents Japan's economic conservatives, some of whom may resist the changes promised Tuesday.
Listen to the report by Alastair Wanklyn: