Well before the development of the Basic Law for a Gender Equal Society, the Japanese government targeted women’s affairs as a political and social concern. The United Nations International Decade for Women (1975-85) marked a period of international growth in reforms geared towards redressing gender inequality. During this decade, the Japanese government channelled resources into promoting women’s issues, most signifi cantly by developing national, municipal and local women’s centres (Mackie 2003: 179). The ratifi cation of the 1980 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) required the Japanese government to take concrete steps to eliminate gender discrimination, including reforming existing legislation (namely, the Nationality Law) and implementing equal-opportunity legislation (Mackie 2003: 179).