The percentage of female candidates belonging to political parties in the Japanese House of Representatives election (general election) on the 31st was less than 20%. The results were compiled by the Asahi Shimbun on the 18th, one day before the announcement of the election. This is the first House of Representatives election to be held after the passage of the Equal Candidates and Gender Equality Act in 2018, which stipulates that each political party strive to recommend male and female candidates as equally as possible.
According to the Asahi Shimbun count, 1,040 candidates, including independents, are preparing to run until the previous day. 330 candidates from the LDP, 53 from the Komeito Party (proportionally), 240 from the Constitutional Democratic Party, 130 from the Japanese Communist Party, and 94 from the Japan Restoration Party, respectively.
However, the proportion of women among party candidates was only 18.4% as of the 17th. Of these, the LDP accounted for 9.7%, which was less than 10%, and the Constitutional Democratic Party accounted for 18.3%, less than 20%. The proportion of women among constituency candidates rose from 10% in 1996 to 17% in 2017. This time, four years have passed since 2017, and the Gender Equality Act was also passed, but the level was almost the same as before. As a result, the proportion of female members of the existing House of Representatives (9.9%), which was dissolved on the 14th, is not expected to change much after the general election. In the ratio of female parliamentarians of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU), Japan ranks 166th, the lowest (Korea ranks 121st).
The reason for the sluggish running of female candidates is that incumbent members of each party have priority, but it is pointed out that the deep-rooted rejection of women in public office is also one of the causes. The Asahi Shimbun surveyed the eight general elections since 1996 when the single-member district system was introduced. So far, out of a total of 289 constituencies, 18 constituencies have not run a single woman, and 43 constituencies have only one candidate.said. This trend is more pronounced in constituencies that are still gender-sensitive and conservative. Metropolitan municipalities such as Kagoshima Prefecture (3%), Tottori, Miyazaki, and Toyama Prefectures (6% each) and Yamagata, Okinawa and Nagasaki Prefectures (7%) had particularly low rates of female candidates.
Of course, in a region where there are no female candidates, a female legislator cannot be created. According to the Chugoku Shimbun, in the 27 House of Representatives elections between 1946 and 2017, six prefectures, Kagoshima, Toyama, Yamaguchi, Kagawa, Kochi and Oita, never had a woman elected. In Hiroshima, Shiga, Wakayama, Tottori, Kumamoto, and Miyazaki, there has not been a single female legislator for 50 years.
Atsuko Yonenaga (58, Social Democratic Party), who is running for the first time as a woman in the 4th ward of Kagoshima, at a street campaign “Why aren’t there female legislators in Kagoshima? Is it because of the local constitution of ‘representative prefecture of male and female ratio’?”also shouted He said, “There is an expression in Kagoshima that says, ‘Women should not speak out’.
On the other hand, Korea has a 30% female quota clause in the Public Official Election Act, but it is an effort clause, not an obligation, so the constituency situation is not much different from that of Japan. The proportion of women in the 21st National Assembly is 19%, but only 11% of constituencies. However, with the revision of the Public Official Election Act, which nominated more than half of the proportional representatives and placed them in odd order, 60% were elected as women, and the percentage of women in the 21st National Assembly was 19%.
Tokyo = Jinju Choi correspondent [email protected]
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