By MOMOKO IKEGAMI/ Staff Writer
July 6, 2021 at 17:01 JST
Chiharu Araki, left, who leads Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First), reacts with supporters when her election to the Tokyo metropolitan assembly became certain on the night of July 4. (Shiro Nishihata)
Tokyo voters sent a record 41 women to their metropolitan assembly in the most recent election, up five from the last vote.
Women now make up 32 percent of the 127-member chamber, metropolitan officials said.
The July 4 election also saw the largest number of female candidates ever at 76.
Kiyo Seno, a member of the Alliance of Feminist Representatives, a group advocating for an increase in female representation, welcomed the rise in the number of women in the assembly.
“It means that assemblywomen’s voices will be heard more than before and that will make it easy for them to push for their agendas,” said Seno, a former assemblywoman of the capital’s Arakawa Ward.
But she also noted that there is more room for improvement despite the recent leap and pointed out that political parties are taking different approaches toward raising the number of their female candidates.
Of all the parties, the Japanese Communist Party saw the highest number of its female candidates elected to the assembly at 14. Voters sent 19 of the party’s candidates to the assembly in total.
The JCP was followed by Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First), in which 12 out of its 31 assembly members are women.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan had four women each out of 33 and 15 elected candidates, respectively.
The election results also showed that a female candidate garnered the largest number of votes in 15 of the assembly’s 42 electoral districts.
As for the share of women among successful candidates, the JCP led other parties at 74 percent, followed by Tomin First on Kai at 39 percent, the CDP at 27 percent, Komeito at 13 percent, and the LDP at 12 percent.
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