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Japan Business Federation appoints Tomoko Namba as the first female vice-chair

The Japan Business Federation has appointed Tomoko Namba, founder, and chairwoman of online service provider DeNA Co., as the first female vice chair in its 75-year history.

However, Tomoko Namba will be the only woman to possess one of the 20 vice-chair posts in Japan’s most remarkable business lobby with the rest held by men, reflecting the country’s male-dominated business circle that is lingering behind different nations in promoting gender equality.

Tomoko Namba, 58, will assume the post after the business body, otherwise called Keidanren, officially affirms the appointment at an annual general meeting on June 1, the business lobby said Monday.

Tomoko Namba established DeNA in 1999 after procuring a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University and became the first female owner in 2015 of a Japanese professional baseball team, the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

“I have been impressed that she is so vocal and has communications skills. I am happy to hear she will assume the new post,” Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of Keidanren, said at a news conference.

Japan’s mind-boggling male dominance went under renewed investigation recently after Yoshiro Mori, a former prime minister, started an international uproar in the wake of offering sexist comments and was forced to resign as head of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics’ organizing committee.

Keidanren will build the number of vice-chairs to 20 from 18, with recently selected individuals including Hitachi Ltd. President and CEO Toshiaki Higashihara and Panasonic Corp. President and CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga.

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