Japan General Election Result: 50% Increase in Women`s Representation in Lower House (*1)
Thirty five women were elected in June 25th election comprising 7.3% of the total 480 seats. The figure came close to the highest representation achieved in the first general election conducted after the World War II back in 1946.
The growth amounts to 50% increase compared to 23 women elected in the previous general election. In the single-seat constituency system, 166 women (13.9% of overall candidates) ran and fought hard but merely 13 were elected making 4.3% of 300 allocated seats.
Although this election was marked by proliferation of
"se-shu" hereditary candidates(*2), success of women
with experiences in local parliament or local
administration is a good sign.
>From the geographic perspective, the result was "high in the West and low in the East." Prefectures such as Osaka and Hyogo had multiple number of women winners while no women were elected in Tokyo.
Numbers of successful female candidates for the respective parties were as follows: Liberal Democratic Party (4); Democratic Party (3); Social Democratic Party(3); Conservative Party (1); Mushozoku-no-kai = non-party-coalition(1); non-party (1).
In the proportional representation system, women
succeeded in taking 22 seats out of the 180 allocated.
The representation at 12.2% is three times higher than
that of the single-seat constituency system.
Notably, Social Democratic Party pushed women by
succeeding to send 7 women through this proportional
Numbers of women according to major political parties were as follows: Liberal Democratic Party (4); Democratic Party (4); Komei Party (3); Liberal Party (1); Communist Party (4); Social Democratic Party(7).
Since seat allocation for proportional representation
system had been cut-down (by 20) this spring, there was
a growing concern that the reduction in number would
lead to a decrease of female representatives.
Nevertheless, the big success of women was mainly due to two factors: most of the political parties added more female candidates than usual with the movement backed up by the strong voices among women promoting to secure more seat in the Diet. Secondly women`s groups outside political parties carried out vigorous campaign through internet or other networks.
However, according to IPU`s international survey (*3), 7.3% female represenation in parliament still ranks low at 105th out of 164 countries. Japan continues to rank the lowest among the G-8 countries soon to gather for Kyushu- Okinawa Summit scheduled for 21-23 July 2000. In light of this reality, further actions from the political parties to increase the number of female candidates are to be expected.
26 June 2000, 05:40 - Release in Japanese issued General Election : Increase Women! Team
*1) Lower House is the most influential political body in Japan
*2) "se-shu" hereditary candidates family-line based inheritance of election machine is extremely common practice among politicians. 110 "se-shu" hereditary candidates were elected this time.
*3 )IPU http://www.ipu.org/iss-e/women.htm IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union) headquartered in Geneve, Switzerland is an international organization that connects parliaments in over 100 countries. IPU has been active in international effort to increase women`s representation in parliaments.