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Japan’s ‘salaryman’ culture

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By Sophia Yan   A lot of Japanese women know exactly how their careers will end before they’ve even begun. Two paths are open to new hires at many big Japanese firms: the career and non-career tracks — sogo-shoku and ippan-shoku in Japanese. They’re often referred to as the “management” and “mommy” tracks. That’s because women typically end up in the non-career roles, which involve administrative jobs with hardly any upward mobility that ambitious people find very frustrating. “Highly educated women quit because it’s not worthwhile keeping that ‘stupid’ job,” said MachikoOsawa, a labor economist at Japan Women’s University. The Japanese government wants more women to pursue careers to help kick-start its sputtering economy, but obstacles like the separate career tracks — part of the country’s male-dominated corporate culture — are hindering progress. About 3 million women in Japan aren’t working even though they would like to, according to official…