Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to have at least five female ministers in his Cabinet following a reshuffle that will take place in the first week of September, according to government and ruling party sources.
Abe recently told his close aides that he wants to have the highest number of women in a Cabinet to date, according to the sources. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had a record five women in his first Cabinet, between April 2001 and September 2002.
Abe wants to set an example as his government has a policy of raising the proportion of women in leadership positions in the public and private sectors to at least 30 percent by 2020.
The government is trying to arrange the reshuffle for Sept. 3.
Abe’s plan to bring in more women may draw criticism from about 60 male lawmakers who have been waiting to assume Cabinet posts.
Sanae Takaichi, head of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party’s Policy Research Council, is likely to join the Cabinet, the sources said on Tuesday.
Among other female candidates are Seiko Noda, chair of the LDP General Council, and Midori Matsushima, senior vice minister of economy, trade and industry, the sources said.
Haruko Arimura, former parliamentary secretary of the education ministry, and Eriko Yamatani, secretary general of a nonpartisan group of lawmakers seeking the return of Japanese abductees from North Korea, are also under consideration.
Abe’s Cabinet, which was formed in December 2012, currently has only two women — Tomomi Inada, state minister in charge of administrative reform, and Masako Mori, state minister in charge of tackling the declining birthrate.