Fortune Highlights Dearth of Powerful Japanese Women

The October 15 issue of Fortune Magazine features 100 of the most powerful women in the world, 50 in the US and 50 in the rest of the world. Pretty surprisingly diverse group of ladies—the #1 in the US is Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. She’s Indian-American. Andrea Jung of Avon is Asian, and Oprah is black, and they’re both in the Top 10. The international list has plenty of representation from France, Britain, China, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa. So guess how many of the 100 are Japanese?

Two! Surprising, considering that Japan is so first world. But then again, not surprising at all if you know a thing or two about what it’s like to be a woman in the Japanese work force. Anyway, Yoshiko Shinohara, president of Tempstaff, comes in at #39 on the Global List, and Sawako Noma, Pres and CEO of publishing giant Kodansha (she’s the founder’s granddaughter), comes in at #45. Interesting to note also that both Shinohara and Noma are much older than the average woman on these lists—they’re in their sixties and seventies, compared to the American top dogs who are mostly in their early 50s (some are even in their thirties!).