Akie Abe, 51, is Japan's first lady of conviction and action.

Jokingly describing herself as an "opposition force at home," the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe doesn't shy away from speaking out in public against her husband's policies.

Earlier this month, for example, she became the first first lady to attend and speak at the Liberal Democratic Party policy research committee, hoping to get lawmakers to re-think their plan to build giant seawalls along 370 km of the Tohoku region's coast.