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House of Representatives lawmaker Karen Makishima was appointed as the director of the Youth Division of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, becoming the first woman to assume the key post.

The LDP’s General Council decided on the appointment of Makishima, a 43-year-old in her third term as a member of the lower chamber of the Diet, at a meeting Tuesday.

Past prime ministers such as Noboru Takeshita, Taro Aso and Shinzo Abe previously held the Youth Division top post, which is considered an important step in climbing up the political ladder for young LDP members.

Speaking to reporters at the party’s headquarters the same day, Makishima said she hopes her assumption of the post will encourage “women of the next generation” and female students to get more involved in the activities of the Youth Division.

In addition to promoting the digitalization of administrative work by the central and regional governments, Makishima said she is eager to push forward with ensuring “diversity in politics.”

“I hope to create an environment in which diverse candidates can be active in the LDP,” she said.

Makishima also said she believes the party will maintain its 73-year-old age limit, set under its internal rules, for candidates running in Lower House elections under the proportional representation system.

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