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Record-tying 28 women won seats in Japan election, but short of gov't 30% goal

Noriko Ishigaki, a candidate jointly backed by key opposition parties, celebrates her projected victory in Sendai's Miyagino Ward, on July 22, 2019. (Mainichi/Masaru Yoshida)

TOKYO -- Twenty-eight of 104 female candidates secured seats in the July 21 House of Councillors election, tying the record set in the previous upper house poll in 2016.

Women won 22.6% of the total 124 seats contested this year. The figure -- 0.5 of a percentage point lower than the record 23.1% in 2016 when the number of seats being contested stood at 121 -- fell short of the goal of having women fill 30% of leadership positions by 2020, set by the government and ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Eighteen female candidates were victorious in constituencies, while 10 women won in the proportional representation bloc, up one seat from 17 and down one seat from the 11 attained by women candidates in the 2016 poll, respectively. Women won half of the six contested seats in the Tokyo electoral district, and half of the four seats up for grabs in the Kanagawa and Osaka districts, respectively.

By political party, 10 female candidates fielded by the LDP acquired seats, the largest figure among any party, followed by six women candidates backed by the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP).

But only 14.6% of all candidates fielded by the LDP were women, and the ratio of female to male party candidates who won seats slightly increased to 17.5%. Meanwhile, nearly half of candidates put forth by the CDP were women, and the ratio of its female to male candidates who secured seats reached 35.3%.

Among the 14 successful candidates who ran on the ticket of the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito, females numbered two, accounting for 14.3%. Of the seven victorious candidates put forth by the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), three were women, comprising more than 40%. Over half of the party's nominees, at 55%, were female.

(Japanese original by Hironori Takechi, Political News Department)

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