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On Feb. 17, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized for a remark he made in response to a comment from opposition lawmaker Kiyomi Tsujimoto during a Lower House Budget Committee meeting in the Diet. Tsujimoto was talking about what she perceived to be corruption in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Abe appeared to be annoyed by the comment, saying it was “meaningless.” The opposition demanded an apology and, while Abe did say he was sorry, he qualified his remorse by saying the outburst was a reaction to Tsujimoto’s “abuse.”

Tsujimoto has always been a forceful foil to the LDP, not so much because she is a member of the opposition but more because she’s a woman. Her aggressive debating style, as with those of other female opposition lawmakers such as Mizuho Fukushima and Shiori Yamao, seems to get under the skin of the LDP’s boys club in ways that the debating style of male opposition lawmakers does not. 

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