But Japan's economic frontiers extend well beyond Asia and the Pacific, to Latin America and Africa — more reason to abandon our long-held inward-looking perspective. A large number of highly motivated and ambitious young people have already come to Japan from around the world, especially from neighboring Asian countries, to study or work. Japan must remain their hope. We must not be disrespectful of them, and our arms must always be wide open towards them. Japan, I believe, is that kind of country.
In the near future, we will designate six National Strategic Economic Growth Areas — Tokyo, Kansai, Okinawa Prefecture, and the cities of Niigata, Yabu, and Fukuoka — to serve as models for the rest of the country. In health care, education, agriculture, and employment practices, we are identifying policies and practices that have fallen out of step with today's needs, and we will move quickly to reform them. The National Strategic Economic Growth Areas will insert the probe of reform down into our regulatory system, which has hardened into bedrock.
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Another habit that Japanese must change is our pervasive male-oriented thinking. We have already resolved to ensure that at least 30% of all personnel hired by the national government are women. I am also now urging publicly traded companies to add at least one woman as a board member. Once we reach the point at which it is no longer news to have a woman or a non-Japanese serving as a CEO, Japan will have reinvented itself and recovered its true spirit of risk-taking and innovation.
"Womenomics" tells us that a society in which women are dynamically engaged will also have a higher birth rate. My government intends to address, urgently, the need to expand day-care facilities and other such infrastructure as the foundation for a society that benefits from all of its members' skills and talents.