National / Politics | DECISION 2014

In one Osaka district, only women are running

by Eric Johnston

Staff Writer

In an election where female candidates account for less than 17 percent of the total, all three vying for a Lower House seat in the Osaka No. 7 district are women.

Next Sunday, voters in that district will decide between Kumiko Muraguchi, 42, the Japanese Communist Party candidate; Naomi Tokashiki, 52, who is supported by the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito; and Sayuri Uenishi, 31, who is supported by Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party).

The Osaka No. 7 district includes the cities of Suita and Settsu in northern Osaka Prefecture.

The contest is a rematch between Tokashiki and Uenishi. In the 2012 Lower House election, Tokashiki won with around 70,000 votes, roughly 7,000 more than Uenishi. However, Uenishi secured a proportional representative seat.

Tokashiki has said she supports constitutional revision. She is a member of influential Diet groups that promote conservative and right-wing political and social views.

Uenishi is also a conservative, belonging to the group of Diet members that arranges visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Prior to the 2012 Lower House election, she said she favored constitutional revision, the new collective self-defense measures, and, in contrast to many in her party, the restart of nuclear power plants.

She has also indicated opposition to women keeping their maiden names after marriage and has expressed tentative support for a discussion on possessing nuclear weapons, if circumstances warrant.

Uenishi was the victim of sexist heckling by the LDP’s Hideo Onishi back in April. Onishi first claimed to have no memory of shouting at her but then admitted doing so and apologized. Despite appealing to younger voters, Uenishi faces a tough re-election campaign due to the unpopularity of Ishin no To.

Nationwide, the number of female candidates running stands at only 198, or 16.6 percent of the total 1,191 candidates.

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