日本語   JCIE Japanese Language Site



Home > Global ThinkNet > Gender-Balanced Society Project > Study Group on Empowering Women Political Leaders in Japan

Gender-Balanced Society Project

Study Group on Empowering Women Political Leaders in Japan

2019–

In 2019, JCIE launched a nonpartisan Diet study group to deepen women legislators' understanding of critical policy challenges. In the initial year, 13 Diet members, chaired by Representative Seiko Noda, are meeting seventimes through March 2020, once every month or two, for discussions with leading experts from Japan and abroad.

In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly noted that it was "highly concerned that women in every part of the world continue to be largely marginalized from the political sphere,” and called upon all states "to enhance the political participation of women (and) to accelerate the achievement of equality between men and women,” including ensuring their right to participate "in the formulation of government policy and the implementation thereof, holding public office and performing public functions at all levels of government.” Indeed, the current level of participation by women in politics remains low worldwide and particularly in Japan. In terms of women in the national legislature, Japan ranks 160th out of 191 nations with just 47 women in the 465-seat Lower House of the Diet (10%) and 50 women in the 242-seat Upper House (20.7%).

Beyond simply increasing the number of women in legislatures, however, it is vital that, once elected, women policymakers be able to address not only domestic issues, but a vast range of international issues that affect Japan and the world. Many female politicians in Japan run for office based on a desire to address issues they have faced in their local communities, and they are playing a major role in drafting policies from their perspective as women that are bringing about changes in Japanese society. Now, they are expected to bring that same voice to issues that affect the international community as well. This requires that they continuously work to improve their policymaking capacity and deepen their interest in and understanding of global issues.

The JCIE study group seeks to support them in those efforts, offering a chance for them to strengthen their policy understanding about key issues that affect Japan and the world, such asglobal and regional security issues, Japan's response to migration and refugee issues, the social impact of AI, and international finance. In the future, the project may also entail sending delegations to the United States and countries in Asia to expand the members’ international networks and provide an opportunity for them to engage in dialogues with other leaders, including women politicians.

Learn More (in Japanese) [PDF]

Study Group Members

Seiko Noda [Chair], House of Representatives (Liberal Democratic Party); Chair, Budget Committee of the House of Representatives
Takae Ito, House of Councillors (Komeito)
Takae Ito, House of Representatives (Democratic Party of Japan)
Hanako Jimi, House of Councillors  (Liberal Democratic Party)
Ayuko Kato, House of Representatives (Liberal Democratic Party)
Ayano Kunimitsu, House of Representatives (Liberal Democratic Party)
Rui Matsukawa, House of Councillors (Liberal Democratic Party)
Akiko Okamoto, House of Representatives (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan)
Takako Suzuki,  House of Representatives (Liberal Democratic Party)
Toshiko Takeya, House of Councillors (Komeito)
Masayo Tanabu, House of Representatives (Democratic Party of Japan)
Kimura Yayoi, House of Representatives (Liberal Democratic Party)
Saori Yoshikawa, House of Councillors (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan)

2019–2020 Study Group Sessions

Sustainable Development Goals—Challenges and Prospects

Yukio Takasu, Former UN Undersecretary-General of Management; former Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

International Security and Geopolitical Issues 

Hitoshi Tanaka, Chairman, Institute for International Strategy (IIS), Japan Research Institute, Ltd., Tokyo; Senior Fellow, Japan Center for International Exchange; former Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs

Challenges and Prospects for Women Political Leaders

Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Founder and President, Women Political Leader

How Japan Can Tackle the Challenges of Migration and Refugees?

Eri Ishikawa, Chair of the Board, Japan Association for Refugees (JAR)

AI and its Impact on Society

Kenji Kushida, Japan Program Research Associate at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and an affiliated researcher at the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy

Global Environment and Energy Issues

Nobuo Tanaka, Chairman of The Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Tokyo; former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA)

International Monetary, Economic, and Trade Issues

Yoko Takeda, Chief Economist and General Manager, Research Center for Policy and Economy, Mitsubishi Research Institute

Related Events