Japan's political parties have failed to increase their female ranks despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's campaign for female empowerment, and some experts say a legislated gender quota for elections is the key to putting the nation on a par with its peers.

The Dec. 14 House of Representatives election is being characterized by several lows — lows in potential turnout, number of candidates and excitement — with Abe and his conservative Liberal Democratic Party set to claim a four-year mandate.

But another low emerging in the upcoming poll is the proportion of women being fielded.