A Prime Minister, a coalition, and 2 pregnant Brits walk into a . . .

The UK-Japan 21st Century Group was launched in 1985, at the joint request of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.

A coalition of private sector, public sector, and civil society leaders – representing industry, academia, the media, and government – the group aims to promote dialogue and cooperation between the two countries. Members meet annually in conferences held alternately in the UK and Japan.

The group’s primary goal is to increase mutual understanding of the political, economic, and social environments on both sides of the pond. The conferences address a wide range of issues facing the two countries, such as: educational and cultural exchange; global security systems; investment and development; female empowerment; and policies for coping with aging societies.2016-10-8-21stcgroup

Each year, following each of the group’s meetings, a summary report and recommendations are submitted to the Prime Ministers of both countries.

As part of the recent 33rd UK-Japan 21st Century Group we called upon Prime Minister Abe who, after the formal part of the meeting, mentioned his commitment to ‘work style reform‘ in Japan.

At the PM’s table on October 6 2016 were 26 delegates – 10 from Japan and 16 from the UK, including 2 heavily pregnant Brits (Sarah Birke, The Economist’s Tokyo Bureau Chief, and me). Perhaps a first for that particular meeting room?

For me, at 37 weeks pregnant, this was an unforgettable, personal example of Womenomics in action!