Nissan holds the most number of women in executive jobs among Japan automakers, with three of its women tasked to manage the rollout of new models. Nevertheless, Nissan (Japan's No. 2 automaker) lags internationally. Nissan’s Mie Minakuchi is the chief product specialist for the latest Note hatchback, which experienced a tripling of its sales in five months.
This model is the top domestic seller of Nissan. Customers have expressed a liking for its easy-to-open doors. Minakuchi, who is now 44 years old, said that she wanted a car that would be easy to use. Catalyst, a nonprofit group in New York, said that women make up about 6.7% of managers at Nissan. But in the U.S., women represent one in three auto industry managers.
On the other hand, women at Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. make up less than 1%. Tetsuo Kitagawa, a professor at the business school of Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, said that Nissan is a standout among firms in a country and industry that falls behind when it comes to female workplace participation.
According to information from the Labor Ministry, women comprise 2.9% of managers at Japanese companies that have at least 5,000 workers.
An OECD report indicated that women represent lower than 5% of listed-company board members in Japan, consisting of one of the lowest rates among members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In support of working women, new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that his administration will increase nursery places.
In a statement on Nissan’s Web site, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said, "Women are a very important, still untapped resource." He explained that more female input is needed when it comes to product design, engineering, manufacturing and product distribution.