National / Politics

Seiko Noda expected to become first woman picked to chair Japan's Lower House budget panel

JIJI

Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Seiko Noda is expected to become the first woman to chair the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, sources with knowledge of the matter have said.

The ruling LDP has decided to nominate the former internal affairs minister for the top post on the prestigious committee of the Diet’s all-important Lower House, according to the sources.

The party will also nominate former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi, another major female LDP lawmaker, as chair of the Lower House steering committee. So far, no woman has held the post of steering committee chairman in either the lower or upper chamber.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has drawn criticism because his recently revamped Cabinet has only one woman. The committee appointments may help ease the criticism.

When Abe returned as prime minister in 2012, he appointed Noda and Takaichi to chair the LDP’s General Council and Policy Research Council, respectively. They were the first women to take up any of the ruling LDP’s top posts.

Among other Japanese female politicians, former National Public Safety Commission Chair Kiyoko Ono chaired the Budget Committee of the Upper House, officially called the House of Councilors.