This paper examines the portrayal of gender relations and issues in theJapanese media through a case study of discussions in mainstreamnewspapers surrounding the introduction in 1985 of the Equal EmploymentOpportunity Law (EEOL) in Japan. This law was introduced as part of Japan's ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of AllForms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The debate surroundingthe changing EEOL is examined through articles from three mainstreamdaily national newspapers, notably the Asahi Shinbun, the Nihon KeizaiShinbun and the Yomiuri Shinbun. The articles reflect and reinforce thechanging cultural understanding of gender relations in Japan over thisperiod. The newspapers supported the introduction of the Law to various degrees, stating that they believed Japan should aim to become a gender equal society. However, they expressed concerns over whether there was societal support for the law, and feared that women's conditions were being `equalised down' rather than men's being `equalised up.