politics

Japan passes law to get more women into politics

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Uh oh, trying to mandate equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity (which already exists) is usually bad news.

8 ( +20 / -12 )

What kind of govt is it ? Why do you need a law to get more women into politics ? Do you have a same law for men ? China had the first Empress about 2000 years ago. When will Japan learn the true meaning of being small China ?

-8 ( +10 / -18 )

But the law includes no penalties for parties that fail to do so, nor incentives to encourage them.

Then whats the point of the law? Oh right, once again, more lip service! I am getting more than a little fed up with the time wasted by these fools in the Diet who pass laws that mean nothing!

17 ( +25 / -8 )

failure... anytime a law "urges" people to do as "much as possible" its just a front to say we did something which is nothing.. not to mention no penalties

12 ( +20 / -8 )

So, basically have quotas based on gender and not ability/talent?

If it's wrong to set quotas based on race, gender, etc., in other countries, then why is it justified in Japan?

9 ( +19 / -10 )

They would never pass anything that involves themselves with "penalties". Adding a retirement age would have been more constructive for the country. Women I guess aren't that interested in entering an environment of self entitled sexiest old men. Law or no Law.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

So... what is a Law if there are no penalties? At best it is Guidance. Typical lip service bureaucratic style Diet crap.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

I am really angry after reading this news. Japan should not follow Western model of putting females in Diet simply because of gender. Look at economies of those nation. Japan got to develop to become powerhouse, hi-tech nation with men leaders. If only 10 percent of Diet members are female, so be it.Why change simply due to Western pressure?

-15 ( +12 / -27 )

What kind of govt is it ? Why do you need a law to get more women into politics ? Do you have a same law for men ? China had the first Empress about 2000 years ago. When will Japan learn the true meaning of being small China ?

Dumb comment. China and especially their population can learn a lot of Japan.

Recently saw a Chinese documentary about the rust belt in Shenyang where the Japanese build industrial facilities during the years that they were in charge in Manchuria or Manchukuo as the Japanese called it.

Older local people were telling that they were looking for work in Japanese ammunition factories during the war. Hate and admiration go hand in hand among the Chinese :)

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Oh Japan, really?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Netgrump, where and when did say that China shouldn't and couldn't and wouldn't learn something from Japan ?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

This form of law which includes no penalties and no incentives yet “urges” compliance is the Japanese equivalent of America’s “thoughts and prayers.” Eg. Nothing. At least the US hasn’t yet made “Don’t kill people with automatic weapons” a toothless law. Yet.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

So, basically have quotas based on gender and not ability/talent?

If it's wrong to set quotas based on race, gender, etc., in other countries, then why is it justified in Japan?

Agree that ability and talent should be the factor and not quotas. In some European countries some politicians think about using quotas to hit the glass ceiling.

I see ambition, talent and skills as assumptions for a position in politics and in the corporate world. Affirmative action as conducted in the US of A is no solution either.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

LoL, what a joke of a country.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

"I hope this law will make a big change in Japanese politics," said Internal Affairs Minister Seiko Noda, one of the members who drafted the legislation, according to public broadcaster NHK. "I hope women who were hesitant to become candidates will be courageous" and run for election, she said.

The same Seiko Noda who demanded Duterte remove the sex slave statue from Manila and refused to call out the senile, hostess-bar hopping Aso for his bizarre comments about women. Her grandfather was Construction Minister (!). It's hard to get more women into politics when those that are, and are in the LDP, align themselves with the dinosaurs.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

I am confused. Japan passed a law to change the mindset and fundamental nature of their society?

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Under the new law, political parties are urged to make the number of male and female candidates as equal as possible and are encouraged to set targets for gender parity.

"urged and encouraged" LOL

But the law includes no penalties for parties that fail to do so, nor incentives to encourage them.

Yep. As some have said Typical LDP BS.

The party should be renamed LBSP

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Being a member of the Diet should be based on ability, merit, sadly hasn't happened for 70 years. Family connections matter, not skill. While in many other countries there have been Female PMs, who have been leaders of note. Suppressing 50% of the population you get 50% less out of your country. This bill even though it has no penalties still had resistance? Speaks volumes about what treatment any woman would have at Party level. Japan has one of the highest levels of female education yet at almost every turn they are judged on their gender. Cultural thing, or just stupid?

5 ( +12 / -7 )

@Gambare Japan... This is not Western pressure. This is about Japan needing Women in the workforce due to a declining population. This is about the hope that if more women are in Govt then Japan will also work out pay disparity and sex discrimination. To simple put this on the West is just shallow thinking.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Japan got to develop to become powerhouse, hi-tech nation with men leaders. 

I love the smell of satire in the morning.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

This on the heels of the news story of the female politician in Kumamoto who couldn't find daycare for her baby so was kicked out of the meeting for bringing it there. Not much of a friendly attitude toward women in government here.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Quotas have always been set on gender rather than ability. Up to now, it has been the other way around, and more to the point, when a woman has shown ability, more often than not she has been shouted down, spoken over, ignored, and had her abilities successes sidelined, diminished, or attributed to someone else.

This law simply ensures that the Boys' Club doesn't automatically hire its mates. Or do people actually think that the decades of keeping women at home and out of the workplace, not promoting them in line with their male peers, and firing them when they have children, has not affected politics up to now?

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

I am really angry after reading this news. Japan should not follow Western model of putting females in Diet simply because of gender. Look at economies of those nation. Japan got to develop to become powerhouse, hi-tech nation with men leaders. If only 10 percent of Diet members are female, so be it.Why change simply due to Western pressure?

Please be angry! Your country is holding back women because Japan Plc is run by old dinosaurs. The bubble economy days of old are gone where the pipe dream of women being relegated to being only housewives. You are right, Japan in regards to hitech powerhouse and you mentioned that in the past tense. It hasn't been in forefront of cutting edge for year. Don't forget that all the scandals regarding powerful Japanese companies were also done by men. There is no Western pressure, your own nation is holding back women for silly reasons because you're living in the past. You must think Japanese women aren't capable of doing the jobs men do! It is a sad indictment of Japan.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Bringing more women into politics? Great! But you need a law for that? Especially one with no teeth.

Shouldn't we be focusing on skills instead of gender?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Japan ranked bottom among G7 countries in the World Economic Forum's latest "Global Gender Gap Report", coming 114th worldwide.

So it's all about saving face on the world stage, as opposed to equality...

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I actually am against this kind of quota laws. Hiring women because you are forced to doesn't lead to gender equality.

There are lots of steps that could help to encourage women to enter politics, or just the work force : guarantee equality of salary, guarantee male family leave, open more child care centers, etc...

You won't change people's mind by forcing them to hire more women, you will just harden their thinking that they are somehow trying to "take over".

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The law was put forward by a cross-party group of lawmakers, but reportedly faced opposition during the drafting process despite containing no penalties for non-compliance.

AFP, can you please DO YOUR JOB! Hint you need to NAME who is in opposition, quite simple really, please stop self censoring, its unbecoming!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Before Law is morality, this pointless new law will end when female candidates surpass male candidates, and what will happen? A renewed law!?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

An attempt to pander to social justice warriors who think equality of outcome is the best way forward (which it isn't). At least they can claim they've taken a small step to improve representation without heading down the absurd path of quota setting.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

This law has to be scratched immediately for its discriminant nature.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

What kind of joke are these Japanese men ? Do they really think they possess women ? This Akie refuses to serve. Bed time, door closed.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Glad that this law has no penalties for non compliance. Gender quotas are about as silly as it gets. Keep this garbage out of Japan

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Well this is great, but once they are into the politics are the oyagis going to treat them the same way most male dominated workplaces do?

will they be allowed to make any significant influence or changes for women or will they be limited to getting coffee, tea and doing menial tasks?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

A few things strike me regarding this (and the subsequent reactions). Firstly, I really have to revise my definition of what is "a law" apparently.

Secondly, the idea of mandating such a change with quotas based on gender or sex is surely discrimination as well but it doesn't seem that Japan is averse to codifying discrimination in law. There is an abundance of that in existence already. I think that most people would likely be in favor of a resolution to increase gender or sex that stops short of codifying it in law but how realistic is it to hope for such a change without it? Can anyone honestly say that they truly believe that the old boys network would willingly diminish it's own power and stranglehold on the nation's government? Perhaps I simply don't want to hold my breath for air that will never come?

In terms of skills, that is certainly a valid point. On the other hand it is supposed to be a representative democracy. I wonder how representative it can truly be when 50% (roughly of course) of the population is represented by 10% of the government? Yes, in an ideal political world male politicians would be able to represent the interests of women accurately, fairly and comprehensively but it really doesn't seem to be panning out that way overall.

In the end I can't say that I support discriminatory mandates 100% but on the other hand, in this case, I have yet to hear and truly exciting alternatives to this dire predicament. Of course, I am all ears (OK, some mouth too) on the matter.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Makes sense in Japan who are still living in the 60s , but beware of identity politics. Be very aware. Nuff said.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

So what kind of law is this?

If the fail to do so there will be no penalties, no nothing.

And just in case there are no "qualified female politicians" to fill the "slots, what are they gonna do?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Gender quotas are about as silly as it gets. Keep this garbage out of Japan

I agree! I think they are silly.

It's ridiculous that anti-discrimination needs to be 'urged' in the first place. If it were 'my country' - I would be embarrassed. So I guess we agree for different reasons. Are you saying that Japan should continue to be discriminatory in politics and workplaces?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

But the law includes no penalties for parties that fail to do so, nor incentives to encourage them.

Right. So for the LDP in particular, it’s better just to be the daughter of someone with his nose in the trough then.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The law is non-binding; as such, it is nothing other than window dressing.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

We can't have any penalties in case some LDP politician gets caught on camera shouting "Have a baby!" or "Get married!" at a female elected official again.

(It was the Tokyo Assembly, but still. I bet it's worse in inaka)

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Why change simply due to Western pressure?

Ha, take a look at Japanese history.

But in all seriousness I don't think that is ever the only reason. For one thing Japanese demographics are changing, each year there are more elderly than there has ever been in its history. Organizations are facing the problem of having more retirees than new recruits.

The people who are saying "talent and skill, not gender!" while this is a valid concern, have no idea how it works in Japan. Talent and skill are not as important as being born into the right family and graduating the right schools. It's all about connections.

After the news of this law was broadcast on TV last night, hailing a new era of gender equality, the normal programming came on of two middle-aged male celebrities who interview pretty college student part-time workers in Osaka restaurants, ask the girl to change into her cutest clothes for the camera and tour her bedroom--all of which the girl consents to, but then the "boke" celebrity cracks jokes about peeking up her skirt and opening her panty drawer. Culturally, I don't think hearts are in the right place for this new law.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

In last night's news they drew a parallel between Japan & France who've passed similar gender parity laws in the late 90s/early 2000s. From what I understood the % of seats held by women in national parliaments went from 6% in 1995 to 40% in 2018.

One major difference with J law (yes, intended) though, substantial financial/tax incentives were in place.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They have to pass a law for this? Dear lord.....thought this was 2018....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How about mandate that all politicians must be female for the next 100 years to make up for lost time and past grievances? Current male politicians could, however, finish their terms; and if gender reassignment to women they could run again.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

They passed laws to "urge" people to do things? Haha. I knew it would just be more back-patting for lip-service. No doubt it'll be like the last few years of Abe's vows to make things equal, too, and that have resulted in Japan's level on the world stage plummeting.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan should not follow Western model of putting females in Diet

Gambare Nippon,

Interesting table in this article with the percentages of women in parliament for different countries.

Even Afghanistan, one of the least 'western' countries in the world, manages 28%. You have to go a very long way down the list, past lots of other non-western countries before you find Japan, which is an enormous waste considering the high education levels of many Japanese women. You don't have to be western to think it's a good idea to give responsibility to people with education and ability.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-politics/11600552/Think-you-know-which-countries-have-the-most-female-MPs-Think-again.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think intelligent Japanese women are very choosy about where they work and with whom they work, and when they see Taro Aso in a fedora in the headlines, they think the last place they want to spend their days is with guys like him. Go-getter Japanese women want to work at foreign companies surrounded by tall, handsome blonde men. Fact.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

To coin a phrase used in the 'Fuzoku', this is just Lip Service.

I'm amazed that they have not set set a 2020 target (Olympics) to get X% female politicians!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So, basically have quotas based on gender and not ability/talent?

Some might make the same argument about the men in the Diet too!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

set targets for gender parity

A target or a quota? Wondering if they are the same in this context. Not really stated

But a quota for equal, 50% representation means affirmative action in the favour of women and necessarily as a result, discrimination against men. If you take the quota seriously there is little doubt that this will happen.

If we judged everybody as individuals on merit we wouldn't have this problem.

That means men should be judged straight up on their merit and women should be judged straight up on their merit. What makes you a good candidate should have nothing to with your gender or anything else you haven't earned as an individual. Your group identity is irrelevant to how you will perform in parliament.

Do you have leadership qualities? Do you operate well in large teams? Can you handle complexity? Do you communicate at a high level? Have you done any charity or community work? How long have you been living in your electorate? Have you run a business?

All of the above a potential metrics you can use to measure the quality of candidate and none of it has anything to do with gender.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How can merit be judged when you're not given a chance in the first place to be treated as equal?

Ideally, there wouldn't be a need for a quota. But (much as I adore this country) Japan hasn't reached an ideal state of fairness, yet.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How can merit be judged when you're not given a chance in the first place to be treated as equal?

Ideally, there wouldn't be a need for a quota. But (much as I adore this country) Japan hasn't reached an ideal state of fairness, yet.

If women are being treated unfairly the best approach is for the leadership of any particular party to simply state we have to look at potential candidates to represent the party as individuals and their individual qualities. As soon as you setup quota's you are reinforcing the culture of discrimination, in this case, against men.

If you were to write into the constitution or whatever serves as the founding document of the party the above central tenet, you immediately re-orientate peoples thinking back to the individual. If you implement the metrics I mentioned above, and I realize they are just a point to start, then again, you reinforce this idea that we are now treating people as individuals.

The LDP leadership could take the above approach and help to resolve the problem without going through the process of attempting to solve any discrimination against women with more discrimination against another group. Its a very odd approach that is likely to breed resentment. Instead of women complaining you're going to start seeing a lot of men complaining. What is the point of that? If you focus on the individual qualities, its very difficult for anyone to argue with such an approach.

Surely the whole idea is to get the absolute best representatives possible regardless of immutable traits.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Under the new law, political parties are urged to make the number of male and female candidates as equal as possible and are encouraged to set targets for gender parity.

But the law includes no penalties for parties that fail to do so, nor incentives to encourage them.

This oughta work as well as the one that encourages people to take vacations or not work more than a zillion hours of overtime per month.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Surely the whole idea is to get the absolute best representatives possible regardless of immutable traits

But who is it who judges that the representatives are the best possible candidates for the parties?

Do you see what I'm getting at, Matt? The system won't change as long as its heavily weighted in favor of men.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Uh oh, trying to mandate equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity (which already exists) is usually bad news.

Yes! Very true.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But who is it who judges that the representatives are the best possible candidates for the parties?

Do you see what I'm getting at, Matt? The system won't change as long as its heavily weighted in favor of men.

If fellow party members judge people on metrics, on their individual character and achievements, unrelated to gender, then you get the best outcomes. That is the whole goal...if you want to win elections.

That's how you overcome any male bias, you remove gender as part of the equation and head straight for the stuff we can quasi measure to some extent, straight to the CV...along with other skills like communication etc.

If you take this quota approach, where does it end? What are you going to do about the lack of gay candidates? What are you going to do about the lack of LGBTI candidates? What are you going to do about the lack of "insert group here" candidates? You see what I am saying. Logically, there can be no end to this quota nonsense because you are judging people on their group status.

If you cut straight to the chase and judge people on metrics, regardless of any group identifier at all, you avoid a spiral into tribalism and pitting group against group.

This is why individualism works to achieve the best outcomes for all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most people vote for whomever their party puts forward and supports. If the LDP puts forward mostly male candidates then that is who will be elected. I agree with Toasted Heretic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most people vote for whomever their party puts forward and supports. If the LDP puts forward mostly male candidates then that is who will be elected. I agree with Toasted Heretic.

Another reason to embark on the reformation process I outlined. Puts a halt to the laziness. Forces people thinking harder and deeper about candidates. Its the party that gains with that approach in the end, not to mention the Japanese people, given the LDP are currently in government and there seems to be very little chance of that changing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Two points:

1) For all the complaints about this law not being binding or not mandating punishments, I must wonder whether a law that explicitly mandates a certain percentage of women with punishments for failure will pass the constitutionality test.

2) It is not quite as useless as people make it out to be. It establishes new duties and declares certain things to be right. The duties aren't bound by mandatory fines, but they do provide a legal basis and justification for any party that wants to set internal policies to follow it, without fear they'll be hit by a countersuit. It also means that a party not fulfilling this duty can theoretically be sued for civil damages.

Basically, think of the Kimigayo law - that also did not specify any punishments, but it did tilt the deck.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Under the new law, political parties are urged to make the number of male and female candidates as equal as possible and are encouraged to set targets for gender parity.

Oh. Yes. Very clear.

But the law includes no penalties for parties that fail to do so, nor incentives to encourage them.

Good luck, my friends.

"I hope this law will make a big change in Japanese politics,"

Written laws don't bring change. ENFORCEMENT of laws brings change!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

so the daughters of nepotism are coming

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Bringing more women into politics? Great! But you need a law for that? Especially one with no teeth. 

Shouldn't we be focusing on skills instead of gender?

The sad reality is that unless their are laws/quotas/punishments in place to address the imbalance, the skills on women are usually overlooked. Research has supported the idea that women get judged more harshly over men regardless of what job they do. So even with the best of intentions by "good guys", if you base on supposed skill, women still supposedly come out short.

Though let's be honest, this will do nothing. Not a thing. Remember Abe said he would have 30% female government by 2020 and backed down over that when even HE realized it was a joke. Nothing will change here unless a quota, incentives and punishments are involved. But this is Japan. We al know this is lip service and that the men in power certainly don't want capable women calling them out on their behaviour and leading the way.

Besides, if we went on skill, none of the people in power now would stand a chance. Family name trumps all here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree. Get rid of the dead wood of nepotism, and clear the way for people with the right skills, regardless of gender.

Canadian prime minister Trudeau (speaking of nepotism) did this back when he was elected- pledged that half of his cabinet would be women. This in spite of his party only being 22% female. Results as expected. It was easier for him to virtue signal than to go through the hard work of actually finding the most competent people for the jobs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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