Female voters remain dubious despite record number of women winning seats
Japan Today -- Jul 23
Despite a record number of women winning seats in Sunday's House of Councillors election, some female voters have cast doubt over the government's pledge to help empower women.

A total of 104 women ran in Sunday's election with 28 winning seats, matching the figure in the previous upper house election in 2016.

However, the 26.9 percent of candidates elected was lower than the 29.2 percent in 2016 and the 36.1 percent for male candidates. Women accounted for 22.6 percent of candidates elected in the latest upper house race.

Sunday's election was the first nationwide contest since a law to promote women's participation in politics was enacted in May last year, urging political parties to make efforts to field an equal number of male and female candidates.

But the ratio of female candidates who won seats in the election was still low, considering Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has pledged to raise the proportion of women in leadership positions in society such as lawmakers, corporate managers and professors to 30 percent by 2020.

In constituencies in Akita and Ehime prefectures, the first female upper house members were elected in postwar history, according to election boards of both prefectures.

In the Tokyo constituency, three out of the six elected candidates were women.

Among them was Ayaka Shiomura, 41, a candidate of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. The former Tokyo metropolitan assembly member came under the spotlight in 2014 after she was heckled by male members when she was asking questions about maternity support measures during a plenary session.

News source: Japan Today
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