Mitsuko Tottori appointed as first female president of Japan Airlines

An excellent step towards gender equality at work: the appointment of the first woman as president of the airline Japan Airlines

The recent appointment of Mitsuko Tottori as the first female president of Japan Airlines (JAL) marks a significant milestone in the ongoing battle against gender disparity in the workplace in Japan. Tottori, who joined JAL in 1985 as a flight attendant, climbed the ranks to a senior executive before stepping into her role as president on April 1st.

This groundbreaking decision comes at a pivotal time for the company, which is recovering from the pandemic-induced downturn while tourists are beginning to return to Japan. It is also a period where air safety is being closely scrutinized, following a recent incident at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport involving a collision between a JAL aircraft and a Japanese Coast Guard plane, thankfully with no casualties.

Tottori’s career and the impact of tragedy

Tottori’s career has been marked by significant events, including witnessing the devastating 1985 air disaster on Mount Osutaka, where 520 lives were lost in one of JAL’s worst accidents. This tragic event profoundly impacted her and emphasized the importance of air safety in ways no manual could.

Aiming for 30% female management

Tottori’s appointment is symbolic not only on a personal level but also reflects a broader transformation within JAL and Japan at large. The company is actively working to increase gender diversity and bridge the pay gap between men and women, and Tottori’s rise to the presidency is a concrete step towards these goals.

Her extensive experience and expertise in operations and safety services have been acknowledged by the airline, highlighting the value of women’s skills and abilities in the aviation sector.

Furthermore, Japan Airlines has set an ambitious target for the future: to have 30% of its management team be women by the end of the fiscal year 2026. This commitment showcases a tangible effort to promote gender equality and provide growth and leadership opportunities for women within the company.

On her appointment, Mitsuko Tottori expressed her hope to encourage all women facing challenges or significant events in their lives to take the next step forward.


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