The character of the Japanese state has been shaped by the Constitution and Civil Code created during the Occupation period and the high economic growth that has characterised much of the last thirty years. It is commonly agreed that Japan has reached a turning point in the 1980s, and this is particularly true of the position of women in modern Japan. Women's demands for change, however, come at a time when both external and internal pressures are pushing the Japanese state in an increasingly conservative direction. Japanese women are in the process of defining a radically different set of priorities: to expose the links between militarism, conservative politics, and the subordination of women and to bring discussion of these issues out of the 'mini-komi' and into the political mainstream stripped of religious and ideological rhetoric. The state's response to this discourse will shape the Japanese state of the future.