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Women’s Political Representativeness in the Local Electoral System in Japan

Miae Jung 1

1국민대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Women’s representation in Japan’s local politics, though certainly not very high, is rather striking when compared with the situation of Korea, where a zipper system and a set quota ensure a certain share of female politicians. Japan, even without such artificial schemes, manages to maintain a more or less same level of political representativeness for women. What accounts for such relative success? In answering that question, this paper (1) profiles female lawmakers and heads of municipal governments of Japan, (2) probes the Japanese electoral system and party policies for promoting women’s political participation, and (3) assesses the role of women’s groups, especially the Seikatsusha Network, which has been grabbing attention even of Korean observers. In light of the recent Japanese experience, this paper concludes, Korea may need bold initiatives in preparation for the upcoming local elections in 2014. Instead of the controversial party nomination and quota system, a multi-seat constituency and a local party system may be just what Korea needs for raising women’s representation in local assemblies.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.