Posters of candidates, including three women, running in the July 21 upper house election are seen in Tokyo's Minato Ward. Photo: JAPAN TODAY

Japanese women running for Diet seats in record numbers, but face many obstacles

By Linda Sieg and Ami Miyazaki

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Most of the women candidates are from opposition parties that unfortunately doesn't have any chance to win. There is nothing to get excited to feel somethings are changing finally.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

To overcome these obstacles, someone should write a Savvy in Japan article about how to succeed. With lots gifs.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"When it comes to campaigning, it is overwhelmingly easier for men," she said.

Hmmm. Maybe time to quit whining and start doing. As a man with ALL of the household bills to pay I could not imagine running for office.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Tsukada's reputation was dented when he bragged about securing a highway project in southern Japan as an unsolicited favor for Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso. He resigned as deputy cabinet minister over the fuss.

Why isn't this news? Another 'unsolicited' favor for the double A's, one of the many that go unchecked I assume.

"Usually, I vote for the LDP, but this time I think they are making fools of us and I'm angry," said 63-year-old Niigata retiree Susumu, who declined to give his last name.

Only this time? Oh you poor guy, you haven't been paying much attention. But better late than never.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Well, you've got to start somewhere. As the son of a single mother in then-conservative Orange County, I watched as she built her career, eyes all askance at her, but she succeeded. It won't be easy, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japanese women running for Diet seats in record numbers, but face many obstacles

Obatacle #1 The ojisans.

@Laguna You grew up in then-conservative Orange County, eh? Didn't any of that rub off on you?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


As you know, men that contribute other than financially in Japan are outliers. Even though she has a husband, he seems to not have any knowledge of those things and is still always away from home with work. Most likely because in his mind, he expects all those things to be taken care of by a woman.

When you don’t have an equal household, it makes it harder for women to do such things and most Japanese households are not equal.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Proponents say more female lawmakers would help Japan focus on key policies such as child care, education and welfare.

In other words, if the situation doesn’t allow you the ability to climb that high, then those changes can’t be made and they will proceed with the current system until a female lawmaker climbs high enough to force change.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Really promising news. These days, women are very assured that in Japan, they can do anything. PM Abe has made Japan a place where women can truly shine!

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

In my country's elections, I vote for who I think is the best candidate. I don't vote for women just because they're women. In fact, I don't consider gender a factor at all.

I hope the women running for office in Japan don't think that they're entitled to votes just because they're women.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Japan is truly unfair to woman but these males forgot that they come from their mother's womb.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Truly and "Old Boys Network". When women finally reach the tipping point (maybe somewhere near 50%) of political representation they can start to make significant changes. I hope that is sooner rather than later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ganbare said -

"...PM Abe has made Japan a place where women can truly shine!..."

Except the problem is they don't - well nowhere near the 50% of the population that they make up.

And Ganbare - you did read the article which says under Abe's watch the world ranking of Japan's womens reps in parliament has fallen from 122nd to 164th - didn't you.

Seems like the main shining going on is the boots of the almighty men.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

These days, women are very assured that in Japan, they can do anything... long as they are in high heels.

PM Abe has made Japan a place where women can truly shine... long as they are in high heels.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Uchikoshi, who unlike many men in the party, did not rise through the ranks, suffers from an image as an outsider. She was born in Hokkaido and pursued her career in Tokyo.

Then perhaps she shouldn't be standing for a seat in a province like Niigata where local ties will matter. Her lack of local networks will not be due to the obstacles facing women, but because she hasn't lived and been active in that area. A man from Tokyo would have the same problems. It would be more illustrative for the journalists to talk to local women who've put the yards in and have worked their way up the political ladder through a town council.

I'm supportive of women but don't think I'd want one from elsewhere with no experience of and little understanding of local issues representing my area. Local government in Japan is very complicated. Lots of different money flows and stakeholders and existing to and fro schemes between national and local governments.

"Individuals have to cultivate networks themselves," said Sophia University professor Mari Miura. "Many women, who have to interrupt their careers for child-rearing and struggle with work-life balance, can't afford such energy."

With the greatest respect, millions of people around the world work full time and raise kids, some of them on their own. If raising kids the Japanese way leaves non-working mothers with no energy for anything else, it is Japanese women's fault. They are the pilots and air traffic control for all this helicopter parenting.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

In the TV show Penny Dreadful, set in the 19th century, one woman asked why women are made to wear such restrictive corsets. Her male lover quipped something like that if it were not so, women would be free to dominate and crush men and they would. Seems to me its coming to pass. Women always had their own power and now with nervous energy it seems they are trying to take men's as well.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Women need to stand up and speak, and say what happens to them if they want real change.

She is speaking and stating her experiences and thats fine, I will listen. Why does everyone have to have a definite opinion.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That's why Japan ranks 122 or whatever out of 144 countries around the world in terms of gender equality. Here's hoping many of the women win and change that a little, and don't just have to serve tea.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Keep trying ladies. Dripping water wears away a rock.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is easy to solve. If you're a woman, you vote for CDP. If you're a man you vote for LDP. That way we can equalize LDPs dominant position in the houses! All women vote for CDP, you have a higher chance of gaining a seat by doing so!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As a man with ALL of the household bills to pay I could not imagine running for office.

Here you would be known as the "woman" of the house as a "man" doesn't do these things. I wonder, do you make/force your wife to hand over her paycheck as well?

In a perfect world it shouldn't matter who is the head of the household and both would share the responsibilities, but Japan, unfortunately, is still far behind and there are still far too many with some seriously outdated ideas of what a "woman's" place is!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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