Next month, CNN’s ‘Leading Women’ features Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s newly elected first female governor. Koike isn’t just breaking through the glass ceiling; she is shattering what she calls the steel ceiling in Japan. In an one-on-one interview with CNN Tokyo correspondent Will Ripley, she discusses the professional challenges women in the country face and commits that she will do her best to better integrate women into working life in Tokyo and Japan. 

She also opens up about the impact of hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020, her advice for the next generation of leaders and her hopes for the future of Japan. In face of the challenges ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics and Tokyo’s pressing societal concerns, Koike is determined to take stronger leadership in tackling each one of them.

Highlights from the interview:

On her biggest challenges
Yuriko Koike: “There are many challenges but since I'm the very first female governor of Tokyo, a big city, and the potential of Japan is so enormous but half of the population which is women are not well used. So, I want to do my best to make women in Japan and Tokyo be more shining, and to make use of their ability for Tokyo and for Japan.”

On Olympic challenges
Yuriko Koike: “I think I am much luckier than my predecessors, because I know the problem. To seek the solution is not easy but I will do my best to initiate or to take stronger leadership.”

On the U.S. Election
Yuriko Koike: “Well, as a matter of fact, US-Japan relation is important for Japan’s security and also in the Asia-Pacific region… anyone who takes care of the precious and historical alliance is welcome.”

On Japan’s aging, male-dominated society

Yuriko Koike: “Too many women in Japan are forced to make a choice between having a career and building a family. It’s not fair. In the U.S. and other countries, women may have more freedom to choose both.”

Yuriko Koike: “Demography is one of the biggest social issues. In such a gigantic city like Tokyo, we have to find out a good solution for that.”

On her advice for young women
Yuriko Koike: “Knock your door, and do your best, and you will get the result.”

Airtimes: Hong Kong, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore and Taipei

Saturday September 3 at 2030 HKT
Sunday September 4 at 0530 and 1430 HKT
Tuesday September 6 at 1730 HKT

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