Nothing short of total upheaval could propel a woman to the top of the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, former Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said in an interview.

Inada’s comments this week came in the wake of an uproar over sexism at the Tokyo Organising Committee this month. Separately, two new studies underscored how far Japan lags behind much of the world on gender equality.

"If the LDP hits a crisis, then women will be able to run,” Inada, 62, said Monday. "At the moment, the party doesn’t want to do anything that would involve extra effort. They want to maintain the status quo. But if they reach the point where they can’t win, I think women will have a chance.”