Abe to vow support for women's social advancement at U.N. meeting

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will leave Japan on Monday to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York where he is expected to vow in a speech to support women's social advancement and protect their rights, government sources said Sunday.

Abe is expected to take the opportunity on Thursday to demonstrate the Japanese government's policy of helping improve women's position in society in line with a U.N. Security Council resolution in 2000 on the protection of women's rights.

Some observers say the move is also aimed at correcting the perception that Japan does not respect women's rights, partly due to the issue of women who were forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese military before and during World War II.

During the speech, Abe is expected to explain the government's growth strategy that targets increasing the proportion of women in leading corporate positions to 30 percent by 2020.

Abe is also expected to express Tokyo's readiness to contribute to global efforts on protecting women's rights and compiling an action plan to prevent violence against women during conflicts and disasters, and encourage women's participation in the process of reconstruction.

Abe plans to hold a meeting with female business managers in the United States after the speech.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to explain Tokyo's efforts to protect women in Africa at a ministerial meeting on women's policy to be held in conjunction with the U.N. conference.