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Two women have entered the race for the leadership of Japan’s ruling party for the first time in its 66-year history, putting in the spotlight both the strides taken and the hurdles that still face female politicians in a country that lags far behind other nations on gender equality.

But despite the unprecedented female presence — making up half the four-person field — some experts say gender inequality will likely remain unaddressed as the Liberal Democratic Party is still heavily influenced by conservative male heavyweights.

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