Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tracking Koike's ambition 11

Tracking Koike's ambition, Day 11, 11 October 2017

At the close of nimonations yesterday, of the 1180 candidates, 209 are women, across all of the parties, both in the single member districts and on the party proportional lists.
I am currently compiling a database of the women candidates. Koike reportedly had an ambition to have a 50/50 gender split but instead just 47 of the 235 candidates are women.

Other parties have:
LDP 25/332
Komeito 5/53
JCP 58/243
Ishin 4/52
Shamin 4/21
Kokoro 1/2
Inds 31/91
Non-aligned 15/73

Note that the Independents and non-aligned include quite a few from the former democrats party who either didn't make the cut or didn't want to go to Kibo or the new Dems.

Candidates in Itabashi 11
In this post, I am particularly interested in the fate of two members who, via stories in the 'scandal sheets' were forced to resign from their parties but have chosen to stand again in this election.

As a part of this research, I am looking beyond mere numbers in explaining Japanese women's participation in politics but also looking at the environment and other factors that make up the experience of women in the national political scene.

The first person is Yamao Shiori, 43 and previously elected twice for the Democrats party. Nominated as the new Secretary-General of the Dems early in September, in the same week news broke of rumours about an extra-marital affair; while neither confirming nor denying (but mostly denying), Yamao resigned to dampen down speculation and damage to the party. She is considered to have (had) much potential in the party and beyond. She is standing as a non-aligned independent in her electorate of Aichi 7. She has just one opponent in an LDP nominee, a male. It will be interesting to see how the voters respond. And indeed, whether or not she finds herself back in the Democrats fold, though which group? Her policy stances see her in the Rikken Ds camp mostly.  

The other 'shining star' politician to have crashed in controversy is LDP representative Toyota Mayuko, also 43, who was forced to resign following release of a recording of her abusing (and apparently attacking) her (male) secretary while on the way to an appointment. The tape has been played and replayed on tv and radio. Toyota went to hospital to seek treatment and help for psychological issues. She subsequently resigned from the LDP. However, following a show of remorse to her supporters in Saitama 4, she is standing again, also as a non-aligned independent, perhaps with a hope of finding her way back to the LDP. It would appear there is less empathy for Toyota than Yamao. Toyota will also have a tougher battle in a solid LDP seat, up against four other (male) candidates including the LDP and Hope so there is some choice to park your conservative vote.

Toyota is an interesting case, the 'perfect' cv if you will, of Tokyo University, top level ministry and Harvard University. Just how this scandal will affect her is important to watch. In my view, she seems to be one of the women Abe sought to 'hothouse' to show the LDP in a less-chauvinistic, old-boys-network (former Defence minister Inada is another) light. The expectation on these women is somehwat greater than their male counterparts.

She is top of my list of interviewees for just this reason...

Koike's popularity remains up but her party is bleeding badly on confirmation of her not standing for election this time.