The proportion of female candidates for Japan’s most recent upper house elections is the highest in the Asian country’s history, reaching 33%, only two points short of the 35% government target fixed for 2025.
“It’s essential for political parties to make efforts to appoint women to appropriate posts, such as those that allow them to select candidates,” explains Akio Igarashi, a professor emeritus at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. “The parties should also help deepen voters’ awareness that female candidates will have a positive impact on policies, which, in turn, will benefit the whole of society.”
181 female candidates – vying for 125 seats, representing 33.2% – are running to be elected as members of the upper house, the highest since 1946, the year women won the right to vote. That’s 77 more than for the previous upper house elections in 2019. Japan placed 147th out of 156 countries in political empowerment in the World Economic Forum’s 2021 gender gap index. This proportion of female candidates reflects the political parties’ attempt to honor their commitment to select equally as many females as male candidates. The Japanese Communist Party has the highest proportion of female candidates, with 55.2%.