Corporate Governance

Women’s Advancement Committee

Atsuko Muraki

Outside Director

Ms. Muraki assumed a position as a member of the Board of Directors at ITOCHU in June 2016, after serving as Vice-Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. She provides many helpful suggestions concerning internal control, compliance, deploying personnel, and strengthening organizations. As of FYE 2023, she serves as chair of the Women’s Advancement Committee and a member of the Nomination Committee.

Establishment of the Women’s Advancement Committee

In October 2021, ITOCHU established the Women’s Advancement Committee, and I was appointed as its chairperson. To further accelerate the advancement of women, a goal ITOCHU has been promoting since FYE 2004, this committee was established as an advisory committee to the Board of Directors, with a system put in place for management to make determined efforts. The committee is composed of six members with diverse experiences and values, three (half) of whom are outside officers and three of whom are women.

We will foster an internal culture in which diverse employees will contribute to gender equality by “Enhancing Our Contribution to and Engagement with the SDGs through Business Activities,” one of the basic policies of the medium-term management plan, and will also enhance corporate value. Furthermore, as a result of the revisions to the Corporate Governance Code and other factors, the promotion of women's advancement in society has received increased demand and attention. While there are many internal committees designed to promote the advancement of women by various companies, we believe that ITOCHU is unique in establishing this as an advisory committee to the Board of Directors.

Discussions at the Women’s Advancement Committee

In FYE 2022, the committee met a total of three times. The committee initially reviewed the various measures implemented by ITOCHU to date, one by one. The committee was able to confirm that the series of work-style reforms regardless of gender implemented since FYE 2011, including the Morning-Focused Working System, have been effective in promoting the advancement of women. In addition to the engagement survey conducted in FYE 2022, a questionnaire was sent to each Division Company President and to female employees balancing work and childcare to fully analyze the results of the reforms. Furthermore, we listened to the voices of women through roundtable discussions hosted by the three female committee members and through interviews with approximately 150 female employees conducted by Yoshiko Matoba, who heads the Human Resources & General Affairs Division. Based on these, we have organized issues in the advancement of women’s activities and formulated a policy of accelerating training for promotion and evolving to a flexible work style.

In the course of our discussions, we analyzed various data and found that changes are especially visible in the ratio of employees in dual-income households. The percentage of ITOCHU male employees in dual-income households was only about 10% Companywide in FYE 2001, but in FYE 2022, it reached 43% Companywide and 90% for employees in their 20s, a change that really stands out. Especially for the younger generation, it is very important to support both women and men, as not only women but also men often need to balance work and family life as well. The introduction of the Morning- Focused Flextime System and a work from home system for all employees during the second stage of work-style reforms will truly encourage flexible work styles regardless of gender, and we intend to monitor the results.

In addition, the number of female employees holding senior managerial positions has increased from 35 as of April 2021 to 46 as of April 2022. ITOCHU’s corporate culture of flexible and steady implementation of measures is reflected in the progress of appointments to key positions, including the first female general manager of an overseas office, the first female president of a Group company in Japan, and the second female president of an overseas Group company.

We believe it is important to continue to listen to the voices of employees, discuss matters with frontline employees, hold committee meetings, report to the Board of Directors, and carry out such an implementation cycle throughout the Company. We closely monitor whether women employees are actually in key positions, whether the development of candidates for managerial positions is progressing smoothly, and most importantly, whether management is seriously committed to the project. We believe that the continuous monitoring of the results of ITOCHU’s efforts is one of the missions of the Women’s Advancement Committee as an advisory committee to the Board of Directors with oversight functions.

Advancement of Women’s Activities Based on Employee Opinions

Makiko Nakamori

Outside Director

Ms. Nakamori possesses a high level of expertise in finance and accounting as a Certified Public Accountant in Japan and a wealth of experience as a corporate manager. She assumed a position as a member of the Board of Directors at ITOCHU in June 2019. She often provides insightful advice based on her specialized knowledge and unique experience in the fields of internal control, compliance, and DX. As of FYE 2023, she serves as chair of the Governance and Remuneration Committee and a member of Women’s Advancement Committee.

Through discussions of the Women’s Advancement Committee, it became clear that there are generational differences in employee awareness and the support they need. Through the roundtable discussions with female employees, we came to understand that it is vital to first successfully promote and support the current generation of executives, so that they will serve as role models, motivating the next generation to become all they aspire to be in the future.

Within the framework of the Companywide work-style reforms at ITOCHU, what particularly resonated with me is the Company policy to provide support for balancing work and family life without distinction for both men and women. It will become increasingly important to take a comprehensive approach that includes employees with diverse values, not just measures specific to women employees raising children. Furthermore, we believe that the number of female employees still needs to be increased. It has yet to reach even 30% of the total number of employees, a threshold where we believe women employees will have the critical mass to continue expanding their influence. As the number grows in the future, we expect women will increase the vitality of ITOCHU in ever new ways. In FYE 2022, ITOCHU clearly demonstrated its commitment to promoting women’s activities through the committee. From FYE 2023 onward, we will continue to fulfill the responsibilities of the committee by regularly reviewing measures and delivering solid results.