Japan’s upper house will have a record 35 women senators following elections held Sunday that were overshadowed by Friday’s assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Out of a total of 125 seats that were up for grabs, 35 will now be held by women, according to reports in ‘The Japan Times’. In total, 181 women had run in the election, also the highest number in the country’s history.
In the two previous elections, fewer than 30 women were elected to the Senate. Women candidates accounted for 33.2 percent of the candidates in the last elections, the highest percentage, although they did not reach the 35 percent target set by the government for 2025.
Among those elected are veteran Liberal Democratic Party politicians such as Satsuki Katayama, former Secretary of State for Regional Revitalization, and Kuniko Inoguchi, former Secretary of State in charge of Gender Equality and Social Affairs.
Junko Mihara, an actress by profession, has been re-elected for a third term for the Kanagawa district while Akiko Ikuina, a pop group singer, also won a seat.
Japanese journalist and senator Renho Murata, commonly known under her name Renho, said this is a «good sign» and reminded that «diversity is always being discussed.» «We hope to achieve parity and increase the membership of female parliamentarians,» she said.
This Sunday, the bloc of Japanese parties in favor of reforming the Constitution to eliminate its pacifist character has achieved a clear victory in the Sangiin by-election, with which they have the two-thirds needed to push for its amendment.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, was the big winner of the elections after winning at least 63 of the 125 seats at stake, while its ally, the Komeito party, won another 12 seats, according to official results.
These four parties have openly proposed changing Article 9, which specifies the country’s renunciation of war as a foreign policy tool and thus renounces the sovereign right to belligerency.
It thus enshrines at the constitutional level the renunciation of military forces with war capabilities, limiting the armed forces to the Japan Self-Defense Forces, which do not have offensive weapons such as nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles.