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Japan steps towards first female leader

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 19th September, 2021 01:39:32 AM
  • Print news

Two women are in the running to become Prime Minister of Japan for the first time in its history – a potential turning point for a country that ranks below Saudi Arabia in terms of women’s political representation.

The victory of Seiko Noda and Sanae Takaichi, two former home ministers in their 60s, in a September 29 vote for the ruling party leader would mean Japan will see its first female prime minister. Even the fact that women make up half of the four-candidate ballot is a step forward for diversity in the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, whose president is virtually guaranteed to become prime minister due to his dominance. in Parliament.

“It probably won’t work this time around,” Lully Miura, a political scientist at the Yamaneko Research Institute, said of the chances of either candidate getting to the top job. “But it gives the impression that it goes without saying that women have to run, and people will get used to it.”

Noda announced Thursday that she plans to run for office to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as head of the PLD, joining Takaichi, along with two men – vaccine czar Taro Kono and Fumio Kishida, a former minister of affairs. foreigners.

“If I become the first female prime minister of Japan, I want to bring about a paradigm shift,” Noda said in a political speech on Friday. “I will aim for half of my cabinet to be made up of women.”

Until this election, only one woman had officially run for the presidency of the LDP in almost 66 years of history – the current governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike. Asked about the race earlier this week, Koike said she was intrigued by the continuing shortage of women in politics.

“Japan doesn’t have the Taliban,” she told reporters. “Why is women’s participation so far behind? It’s a mystery to me. There has been no female candidacy for 13 years. She added that she wanted to pay close attention to the candidates’ policies on women.

As women struggle to gain leadership positions in many sectors in Japan, the problem is particularly acute in politics. Only 10% of the members of Japan’s powerful lower house are women, placing the country 166th in the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s world rankings for female representation, while Saudi Arabia ranks 151st with almost 20 %. Attempts to introduce enforceable quotas for women have so far failed and there are only two women in the 20-member cabinet.

Even though both candidates say they were inspired by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, their own politics lie at opposite ends of the PLD spectrum.

Noda has devoted much of her career to issues affecting women, children and families – she also blogs about living with her disabled son. She has set up a training school in her constituency for potential women politicians, saying women leaders are needed to stem the decline in the birth rate.

Takaichi, who is supported by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is a regular visitor to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, which is seen by many in Asia as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism. She opposes married couples being allowed to keep surnames separate, or the idea that a woman should be allowed to take the Imperial throne and pass it on to her children – all matters of stone. touchdown for the Japanese conservatives.

“To protect Japan, as my top priority, I will invest to minimize the risk of natural disasters, infectious diseases, disease, food security, terrorism, crime and cyber attacks,” she said in her political speech, in which she also mentioned the need for veterinarian of foreign researchers.

Their appearance with the two male candidates marked a contrast to the start of the party’s last election about a year ago, when the candidates were all men and the few women seen on stage were serving water to politicians. older people who flanked the candidates.

Takaichi, who votes before Noda, could have a shot at becoming prime minister in a few years, according to Miura.

“If you are a PLD woman, I think you must be conservative,” she said. “There are no female faction leaders, and if you don’t have your own group, you have to provide some other reason for people to choose you. The LDP is a conservative party.

Opinion polls show Kono, who also served as foreign minister and defense minister, is the most popular option. While the public will have no say in the leadership vote, broad approval will be essential as the new prime minister faces a general election just weeks after his appointment.

If no candidate obtains a majority of the votes in the first round of the election, a second round will take place between the first two candidates, on which only lawmakers can vote. A survey of PLD lawmakers published by the Yomiuri newspaper on Friday found that Kishida and Kono were even supported at 20%, followed by Takaichi at 15% and Noda at around 10%. About 40% said they were undecided or did not respond, according to the newspaper.

Upper House LDP lawmaker Rui Matsukawa said on her blog that she would support Takaichi because of her national security policy, adding: “As a lawmaker, it’s exciting to think that we could have a wife prime minister.

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Source: The Bharat Express News