Toshihiro Niji, the director of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said at the general meeting on February 16 that female parliamentarians can attend the cadre meeting, but cannot speak.
Toshihiro Niji not only attracted strong criticism from public opinion, but also once again highlighted the difficulty of Japanese women in politics.
After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Western liberal democratic ideas entered Japan, causing the women’s movement to spread in Japan, but it was after World War II that Japanese women really won power.
In 1945, when Japan surrendered in defeat in World War II, the United States-led Allied General Command (GHQ) in Japan began to reform Japan in accordance with the principles of demilitarization and democratization.
Among them, granting women suffrage was one of the five reform directives issued by GHQ to the Japanese government at that time.
In December 1945, the Japanese government promulgated the revised Law on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives, which stipulates that men and women citizens have equal rights to vote and stand for election. As a result, Japanese women finally gained political participation.
On April 10, 1946, after the implementation of the new law, Japan held its first post-war election for the House of Representatives.
In view of the fact that Japanese women have obtained the right to vote and stand for election, this election is also the first “universal suffrage” in Japan’s true sense. According to the statistics of the Japanese government, about 13.8 million women nationwide voted on that day.
In this election, a total of 82 women ran for election, and 39 people were eventually elected to the House of Representatives.
Japan’s Kyodo News Agency described the scene of women participating in voting: because it was the first time to vote, women’s enthusiasm for voting was very high.
At the polling site in Shitani, Tokyo, many women could be seen wearing wooden slugs and carrying their children behind their backs to exercise their power seriously.
With the emergence of female parliamentarians, Japan has also opened the history of women’s participation in politics after the war.
However, it took 14 years from the first female parliamentarians after the war to the birth of the first female cabinet minister.
On July 19, 1960, the Ikeda Yuto regime was established under the slogan of “Tolerance and patience”.
Because former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi forcibly adopted the Japan-US Security Treaty during his tenure, which caused strong dissatisfaction with the LDP regime, Ikeda needed to clean up the chaos and improve the image of the LDP in Japanese society after taking office.
Against this background, at the age of 69, Yataka Nakayama entered the cabinet as Minister of Health, Labour and became the first female cabinet minister in Japan.
Masa Nakayama has only been in office for just five months, but during this period, she actively worked on the legalization process of allowing children from single-parent families to receive grants, which can be said to have contributed to the development and progress of Japanese society as a woman.
Although Japanese women gained political power and their social status continued to improve after World War II, it is also an indisputable fact that the proportion of women in both houses of Congress in Japan has been low for a long time.
In 1946, the election of the House of Representatives of Japan gave birth to 39 women members, accounting for only 8.4%. From then until 1996, the proportion of female members of the Japanese House of Representatives remained between 1% and 2%.
From 1946 to the present, although Japanese women’s political career has faced many challenges, there are also many highlights, such as the “earth well cyclone” in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In July 1986, elections were held simultaneously between the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Diet of Japan.
The Liberal Democratic Party won an unprecedented victory in the election, while the Socialist Party (reorganized as the Social Democratic Party in 1996), the largest opposition party, suffered a crushing defeat. For this reason, Masaji Ishibashi, the chairman of the Socialist Party, resigned.
At that time, the vice chairman of the party, Tagako Doi, was elected as the new chairman, thus making Doi the first female party leader in Japanese history.
Since then, in the 1989 Japanese Senate election, the Liberal Democratic Party was exposed to a number of scandals before the election, and the Socialist Party maintained good cooperation with opposition parties such as the Komeito Party, which resulted in a historic victory for the Socialist Party, with a total of 22 female parliamentarians elected. T
he most important reason why the Socialist Party won the election at that time was the high popularity of Tagako Ichi in Japan.
Therefore, the Japanese media called this phenomenon “Toneonna” (also known as “Madonna Cyclone”) because Tsai said during the election that the female candidates “are as charming as Madonna”. “).
In the 1990 House of Representatives election, the “Tujing Cyclone” continued to be strong. The Socialist Party under the leadership of Doi made great progress in the election, winning a total of 136 seats.
In addition to setting off a “Tonerowind” in Japan, Tagako Takako Tōkai served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan and the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in the history of the country.
After Doi, Japan was born in 2000 as the first female governor in the history of Osaka Prefecture, and the first female Senate president Fan Chijing in 2004. This partly reflects the continuous improvement of Japanese women’s political participation.
However, compared with other developed countries, the proportion of female parliamentarians in Japan is still low.
According to statistics from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as of January this year, Japan’s female parliamentarians in more than 190 countries and regions had a bicameral or unicameral parliament, ranked 166th. In the United States, where the first female vice president was born, the proportion of female representatives was 27.3%, ranking 68th.
Among the G7 member states, the proportion of female deputies in Japan is at the bottom.
From 1946 to now, the recognition of female politicians in Japanese society has indeed been increasing, but the proportion of female members in the Diet of Japan and the stereotypes of women in the Japanese parliament also mean that the road of Japanese women in politics is still full of bumps and obstacles.