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Progress from gender-equality law depends on the will of voters

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The Diet on May 16 passed a bill to promote gender-balanced assemblies that urges political parties to field the same number of male and female candidates in national and local elections.

The law is solely designed to set principles and has no provision for penalties. It is not clear if the measure will actually increase the number of female members of the Diet and local assemblies.

Still, we welcome the legislation as an important step forward.

For many years, low turnouts in both national and local elections have been cited as worrisome signs of a “crisis” in Japan’s parliamentary democracy.

The principal factor behind the declining turnouts is the difficulty voters have in connecting themselves with politics.

Politics is the art of determining the shape of society. But few Japanese would say the current Diet is a microcosm of Japanese society.

That’s because politics in Japan has long been dominated by men despite diversity in people’s lifestyles and needs.


© The Asahi Shimbun