politics

Obuchi being touted as Japan's first female PM

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By Linda Sieg

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Sounds like she wouldn't be the nail that sticks out and gets pounded back down - until she becomes PM. But, she just might do a good job. Better relationships with Asia is good. I think. While maintaining good USA, Bri'ish, etc. ties.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

She hails from an LDP faction that favors warm ties with China and South Korea, and is one of only four ministers in the 18-member cabinet not associated with nationalist lobby group Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), political analysts noted. She does belong to a separate group of MPs that advocates visits to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, but she typically sends a staffer rather than go in person, an aide said.

The selection of Japan's next leaders are none of China and South Korea's businesses !

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

All this whole article tells me is that she's done nothing of significance, tried nothing as not to ruffle feathers, has no experience whatsoever for any post she's had, and will do just enough and or nothing at all so she won't make waves.

She's the female Japanese version of Obama.

And enough of Yuko Obuchi. She took the seat right after her father died, who got the seat in office because of his father and she bounced around from Minister of State for Social Affairs and Gender Equality (and we all know how Gender Equality has gone: nowhere) when she was appointed by Aso, who's now got some power from Abe, then when the party was out of office for a few years she wasn't active in the community or trying to spearhead anything, then in 2012 she became the Vice Minister of Finance (and we all know Japan has the largest debt in the world) and now she became the minister responsible for the nuclear industry in Japan and is involved in the clean up of Fukushima (and we all know how that quagmire is going). She goes from position to position with no real qualifications for the role she's in. She's a puppet at best.

I'm not saying these problems are her fault, but she holds positions for a year or two and I've never seen any progress made and she moves on to the next post before anything substantial can even be done.

17 ( +17 / -1 )

I guess a first female PM would be kind of cool, but I'm more worried that it is becoming the norm that every PM is the offspring of a PM.

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The selection of Japan's next leaders are none of China and South Korea's businesses !

lol, did anyone said it was their business?.. oh wow..

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I think it's high time for fresh blood and not the off spring of former PM's or politicians

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There is no real leadership in Japan, its painful to watch whatever sap becomes PM as they always do a terrible job

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Fresh blood is a good idea but are there anyone in LDP? Well, some families have political breeding. Do you know how Abe's political; family habit began? When? Who was first one?

Not easy to have new one who was not raised in politica; environment.

.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

However, being raised in that environment puts them out of touch with the general populace.

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She does belong to a separate group of MPs that advocates visits to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, but she typically sends a staffer rather than go in person, an aide said.

I'm sorry, but I really don't see how sending a staffer to go in your place is any different than going yourself. How any of these people can believe that is beyond me and just goes to show how shallow their thinking is. If you believe in going: go yourself. If you don't want to catch flack for it then send no staffer and don't go yourself. So many of these politicians love to play in the grey area using the loophole thinking of an elementary school student. To those against it: "Well I didn't actually go there in person, so it doesn't really count even though I sent a staffer or a gift, right?", to those for it: "I wasn't able to make it, but I sent someone/a gift instead". Talk about pandering to both parties.

Anyone who advocates visits to Yasukuni clearly does not understand the impact it has on the nation's relations with neighbouring countries and should not be considered for PM.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Whilst it would be nice to see a female PM in Japan, it would be typical for the first one to be the grandchild of a PM and not much of a forward step as a result of that. It would be yet more dynastical job-sharing, but with a woman included in the club.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

She seems a tough woman, and better than the other female PM hopefuls like Noda or Inada.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

LDP looking to have someone who will replace Abenomics? Obuchinomics? Or more votings? Half of Japanese population is women. To scrap collective defense idea? They could have given up Abe but they will wind up with Aso.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I heard the same thing about Yuriko Koike, who can speak Arabic and promised to get back all 4 northern islands from Russia. We'll see what happens.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If the LDP and the media are touting her maybe that's their plan all along. A sneaky way to keep pushing their conservative agenda: put a young female face on it while the old men keep making their dirty deals in smokey back rooms.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is stupid Japan! Come on a make a PM ROBOT!

Theres the answer to the PM problem, domo arigatou PM Roboto!!!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Is it just me or is Nepotism and/or Political Family Dynsties reaching a postwar high? To be honest I don't know the history so well.

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@Ishiwara

I guess a first female PM would be kind of cool, but I'm more worried that it is becoming the norm that every PM is the offspring of a PM.

Cronyism is alive & well in Japanese politics

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Just what we need, yet another politician who is the child of a politician. It would be better to have leaders who are not members of a permanent ruling class, and who come from the real world that the rest of us live in.

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I just hope she does not start eating chocolate and pick up the same nick name as her father had.

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Forget it, it's not going to happen. I can remember when the same predictions were being made about Kakuei Tanaka's daughter Makiko, until she made a complete fool of herself as foreign minister. Expect a repeat performance.

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GW: This is stupid Japan! Come on a make a PM ROBOT!

As long as it's a FEMALE robot!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"In Tokyo’s male-dominated corridors of power, where seniority still matters, Obuchi’s gender and youth would in the past have made her a long-shot - at best - to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe."

Ummm... not 'in the past', as in no longer the case, but very much still in the present. Obuchi and others were ONLY appointed because Abe faced pressure to put more women in positions of power, and so far the biggest thing we've seen from these women are that two are in with the Neo-Nazi camp, and one stopped the DIET not through wit, not through strong moves and leadership, but because the men were offended she wore a scarf and they walked out of the room. As much as I'd love to see a female PM, it is not going to happen in even the distant future.

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A lot of women probably waiting for any chance to have a female PM. May get a lot of switchover votes. LDP should go for it.

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“As soon as I get home, I become a housewife so things like shopping, childcare, going to the doctor - I realise there are many things needed for daily life,” Obuchi, tall and slim in a black pants suit with her short hair swept to the side, told women....

"As soon as I get home, I become a househusband, so things like shopping, childcare, going to the doctor - I realise there are many things needed for daily life,” I, tall and slim in a khakis, an oxford shirt, and a "creative" tie with my fully gray hair still retaining its natural perm, told men.

Sheesh. Welcome to reality, with all its inanity and undertones of sexism.

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"She can be likeable, she doesn’t stick out, she doesn’t carry any strong beliefs. Her father was the same way. It’s not a very global type of women’s leadership ..."

Yeah.. sure not global... very Japanese style.. No strong beliefs, good at bowing, etc. Really nice PM lol ))))

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

i think she wouldnt be a good minister. i have the feeling she would let china do whatever. i think that some1 that has experience in presidency should become a pm in japan.

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I think it's time for women to run the world and us men can take over the traditional jobs of women which can be summed up as follows: stay at home, watch TV all day, complain, net shopping, complain, sleep, complain, etc.... Sounds good to me!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nikkei reports that she just got a letter that contained a blade in it.

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She got her Diet seat when he dad died of a stroke in 2000. Because she is the child of a former Prime Minister that is the most important resume line to be a Prime Minister, and the fact she has carried the party line and caused no waves in her appointed posts by Aso and Abe. She really is just a party drone like her father was. Unheard of to the rest of Japan until all of sudden there was nobody else for a cabinet post and then nobody else to toss into the PM seat.

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“I think if her father had been a fishmonger or a shop owner, she would have carried on his work,” said a Japanese journalist who has followed Obuchi’s career.*

Japanese politics in a nutshell. It is a family business, really no different from the ramen shops that dot the country. Anyway, daughters following in the footsteps of their ex-president and ex-prime minister fathers is the "Asian way" (see Park Geun-Hye, Gloria Arroyo, Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Megawati Sukarnoputri) and Japan is an Asian country so in that sense this development of Obuchi Yuko as a possible future prime minister is not surprising.

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@smithinjapan, your assessment has a valid point: Here is the reality, Japan’s political arena is still dominated by LDP nationalistic males. Frankly speaking, although there is a tinge of possibility for Obuchi to be a PM, the likelihood for that to happen would be quite low at this point. On a much larger scale, the traditional Japanese society may be not yet ready for a female leader, either.

Let me draw a parallel line here, Even in the US, a society where the gender equality is way ahead of Japan, the question is still lingering for a female president in America. That was why Hillary Clinton lost her presidential bid in 2008 in which 70.4 million women voted comparing with only 60.7 million men did, and there is still no guarantee for her to win the upcoming election in 2016 either although she appears to be the front runner for democrats right now.

My point is that something that sounds good in polls and media outlets is not necessarily to be abel to translatei into a direct correlation in the election booths. That being said, I would like to see Japan to choose a qualified and visionary leader, female or male, to bring Japan out of slippery slope.

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:I think if her father had been a fishmonger or a shop owner, she would have carried on his work," said a Japanese journalist who has followed Obuchi's career.

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Stereotyping Japanese women as brainless.

I don't think he has no idea Abe is related to Takayoshi Kido whose subordinates toppled Shogun forces and created Meiji Ishin, Abe family business back before Meiji Ishin, A majority of J PM in Japan;s History, Yamaguchi0ken PMs usually performed more than 2 PMs duty.

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But a shortage of popular male rivals and lingering doubts over the success of “Abenomics” mean the 40-year-old daughter of a prime minister is increasingly seen as a contender when her Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) goes shopping for a new leader.

Her sex may be different, but her background is the exact same as Abe and countless other PM's. When will the Japanese voters demand better than second and third generation politicians? Being elected to office should be based on your character, ability to lead, and maybe even the strength of your ideas, not your geneology.

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@jerseyboy, concur with your point.

I think that Japan’s PMs from lineage of politics families is indeed a troublesome phenomenon. That may, in some way, explain why an inbreeding-orientated Japanese machine have produced a bunch of mediocre and shortsighted leaders who have no aspirations to change the status quo instead busy forming fractions to secure power bases. In other words, Japan’s dwindling track records may be linked to this “insider-trading” genealogy.

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Obuchi, tall and slim in a black pants suit with her short hair swept to the side...

Thanks for that. Glad to know about her clothing and hairstyle. Good job!

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Thanks Japan Today to make this an article to just talk about but I don't see this happening ANYTIME soon!

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I'm definitely all for more female politicians, and a female PM would be fantastic but I don't see her as being a choice candidate. She is the child of a former PM, strong ties to current PM. Honestly she'd be no different in my opinion, she isn't pushing for goals or taking strong sides on arguments, she's skating along and just going with the flow.

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What makes her qualified to be Prime Minster?? She was a college student in England when her father died and she immediately returned to Japan and took his seat WITH ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE. Even if she's learned on the job and gained some experience, she is not even close to being qualified or ready to be PM.

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At 40, she might be stil be consideredl inexperienced with difficulty of understanding domestic and international politics. She might not be able to do much. Yuko Obuchi’s father, Keizo, is remembered for his efforts to promote reconciliation in Asia, including signing of joint declaration in 1998 with South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, which included a strongly worded apology for the “tremendous damage and suffering” Japan had inflicted on its neighbor. By comparison Abe has been unable to hold a summit with either China or South Korea since he took office with continue territorial disputes and disagreements over Japan’s past aggression. Yuko Obuchi has visited both countries as part of delegations to help to dispel misunderstandings, but this doesn't mean much. Any politicans can do that.

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A graduate of Seijo University which has produced many minor actors and television personalities, Obuchi worked at the broadcaster TBS from 1996 to 1998. She was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in 2000, winning her father's former Diet seat when he died shortly after suffering a stroke while in office. Her father is former prime minister Keizō Obuchi and her grandfather former member of the House of Representatives Mitsuhei Obuchi.

On September 24, 2008, Obuchi was appointed Minister of State for Social Affairs and Gender Equality in the cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso. This made her Japan's youngest cabinet member in the post-war era. Her party was out of office from September, 2009 until December 2012. In December 2012, she was appointed Vice Minister of Finance by the new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and on 3 September, 2014, she was made Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in Abe's cabinet. s such, she became the minister responsible for the nuclear industry in Japan, with partial responsibility for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster clean-up

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Not in England when her father had stroke.

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@toshiko

And what international political experience does Ms. Obuchi have that made significant difference? None to very little? And she is a candidate for PM during difficult times? Is this the best Japan can do?

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@sfjp330OCT. 08, 2014 - 05:07AM JST

@toshiko And what international political experience does Ms. Obuchi have that made significant difference? None to very little? And she is a candidate for PM during difficult times? Is this the best Japan can do?\

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Did I recommend her? I just copied and pasted articles/ She was not in England, I wrote and that is not recommendation.

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What makes her qualified to be Prime Minster?? She was a college student in England when her father died and she immediately returned to Japan and took his seat WITH ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE. Even if she's learned on the job and gained some experience, she is not even close to being qualified or ready to be PM.

Now it's 14 years later.

Obama was a state senator from 1997 to 2004 and a US senator from 2004 to 2008, before he ran for president. That's about 10 or 11 years (some of those years probably spent campaigning).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

turbotsat Oct. 08, 2014 - 05:54AM JST Now it's 14 years later. Obama was a state senator from 1997 to 2004 and a US senator from 2004 to 2008, before he ran for president. That's about 10 or 11 years (some of those years probably spent campaigning).

Now it's 14 years later, what has Obuchi done to her credentials? Not many believe in her that she is a capable leader. Japan is the third largest economy in the world, follow by Germany with fourth largest economy with women Chancellor. They have similarities. But Merkel did not become Chancellor by chance or in passing. She demonstrated her will for power long before she first moved into becoming a chancellor. Merkel's intuition for power, her tactic and strategic skills and her talent for adaptation have made her one of Germany's and Europe's most significant contemporary politicians. She promised her citizens that Germany would emerge stronger from the crisis. And the economic and employment statistics seem to suggest that the promise is being fulfilled, they have been good for years. Abroad Merkel presents herself as the strict defender of German interests. Whether it's after G8 meetings or after EU summits, she always makes sure to suggest that German money is safe in her hands. During the European economic and financial crisis, she has also become the symbolic figure of euro rescue politics. Merkel said she wanted both Germany and Europe to emerge stronger from the crisis. Her politics follow one concept: yes to financial aid for others, but only under certain conditions. That's how she believes Europe can become more competitive. Can't say that about future of Japan with Obuchi.

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Obuchi being touted as Japan's first female PM

???? Since when?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just get any old person in there, they can't do too much wrong. It's Prime Minister job, not King they're looking to fill.

Japan needs more women in politics, just put more women in, any chance you get.

If Japan only brings in PMs from established families, then bring women in from those. Gotta start somewhere.

Politicians create an environment of fear to distinguish themselves as saviors from their opponents. It's not like the developed world is really that bad. They can't screw it up too much. Government is full of waste, but it was going to be wasted anyway, and the "waste" is rotated through the economy, not burnt to ashes. It's not like the government is going to stop collecting more and more and even more money, ever, or put any reasonable bounds on the public sector cheating the private.

If it was really bad there'd be war in the streets, and there's not, except for disenfranchised areas as always.

Since it's like that, what matter who occupies the office? Give the ladies a chance!

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Following is just what I found on her life as a working mother. No praising nor degrading her. Just snooped info. while she was a Diet member, 2005 she attended Waseda, majored master course in Public something , later she received a Master Degree in related field, then 2007 she announcewd her prevgnancy. She was active in Child Happy Project.

2nd Abe Cabinet. she was appointed to Vice Minister of Finance as a Miinister. Aso accused her Minister should not be Vice Minister and she barked back PM shouldn;t be Vice PM (Aso was) . Be careful. She is Shorinji Karate (kempo) expert. Also, she is expert in playing Koto instrument. (Taisho Koto)

@slip330: You want me to bad mouth her? Here is. She is a big sake drinker. Mrs Abe, too. I am from none drinking family and none of my children use booze so this is my bias. I don't like alcoholic PM. Abe does not drink.

Check what kind of int'l organizations and charitable organization she help. instead of trying to make me bad mouth her.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@toshiko: Obuchi was studying in England in 2000 when her father died. Get your facts straight. It was irresponsible for the Japanese public to elect her to her father's parliament seat with no political experience, and it would be grossly irresponsible for tge LDP to appoint her as Prime Minister now or in the near future. END OF STORY.

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@american: She was her father's private secretary after he ended his PM and she was elected in Gunma Prefecture/ Diet members are elected in their electrical district, not in entire Japan. You have to get fact right. Check how those funny people are elected over and over because they are elected in their district, not in entire Japan. Like Ishihara Senior in Tojyo and Ishihara Jr in another ward. Abe in one ward in Yamaguchiken and his brother Nobuo Kishi in another ward in Yamabuchiken. What Obuchi was studying in England? What the name of school? In Waseda. she majored Public Economy (koukyou Keizai/ ]Guznma people elected her and you are blaming Japanese people. Write name of school and what she was majoring in England.

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"a talent for avoiding making political enemies"

Now that's a rare talent!

I hear she got a letter with a box-cutter telling her not to re-start the nukes.

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@Serrano; About nukes restarting she telling like Abe does, but She signed LNG purchase agreement with Alaska after she became Minister,. LNG to replace nuke plants or why she signed? You can not trust any Govt official talks.

BTW, she is not tthe first Japanese female elected Diet member who became pregnant while on duty. She is maybe first Japanese female married politician, Yearsa ago, in 1947, bunch of Japanese ladies were elected. So, one Tekoko Matsutani was loved by Sonoda, married with children, and became gossipped. At that time, we had Social Study added in Middle school and we used gossip magazines as social studey reference. It created new Japanese phrase Genshuku baru jijitsu meaning pregnancy, Anyway, her father declared family suicide and she got baby and her lover divorced and married her. When men pokutucuans get babies from their mistresses, no problems in Japan.

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Obuchi was on the news the other day. She cannot even answer a simple question "do you support couples being allowed to have different surnames?" with a "yes" or "no". In fact, none of the women ministers were willing to answer that question. If they aren't able to do even that, they are not fit to be prime minister.

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If they aren't able to do even that, they are not fit to be prime minister.

What happens to ministers who express opinions contrary to PM and party?

Just the other week someone resigned for that, but I don't remember which country, or the issue. Or I may have googled a past incident from longer ago.

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She is a member of an association that promote a married couple to have different last name. She is the promoter. If asked in Japanese she probably made a big spech that she has been doing all the time. Fufu Bessei SuishinKai is the name of her organization.

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toshiko : one Tekoko Matsutani was loved by Sonoda

A couple of hits re that.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2007/12/20/reference/special-presentations/a-long-life-of-peace-that-sprung-from-war : Interview with Tekoko Sonoda about her life, in 2007 when she was 89.

http://tinyurl.com/krkcdak : Google Books' pages from PM Nakasone's memoirs, from when Sonoda lived downstairs from him, about the elopement.

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@turbo; Thank you, /first Japanese woman or youngest woman comments are often used. Tekoko was the youngest and praised but after love story my middle school stopped us to read gossip magazines for Socety Study and we had to study calculus harder so that none of us wanted to be politicians,

Back to topic,I'd bet she opposes comment by a big politician Women are baby making machines:. Koike opposed.

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No the hell she isn't. Can you guys here at JT be anymore sensationalist? I mean really...

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LDP members who had enough of Aso and media attack wants Obuchi as she used to work for TBS and LDP needs someone who can hanbdle media. Aside her, Many members think Koike as Koike knows JSDF from inside out. Not because they are female but anyone is better than Aso's big mouth they reason. .

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