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Regarding the Sept. 28 article “SDP’s Takako Doi, first female leader of major political party in Japan, dies at 85“: I am sad about Takako Doi’s passing probably because she was in her political prime when I arrived in Japan, and so her passing makes me reflect on my own age and mortality.

Older Japanese I know understand her accomplishments, but younger people are in the dark. Going head to head with dinosaurs like former Liberal Democratic Party godfather Shin Kanemaru, Doi’s political success in the July 1989 Upper House election, ending the LDP majority in the chamber, caused media and commentators to hail her for ushering in the new Age of Women, or onna no jidai in Japan.

Alas, the conservative male gerontocracy revived itself, and now it’s conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is promoting the female agenda. But Abe’s position regarding women in politics, business and society pales in comparison to Doi’s. No female Japanese politician today can hold a candle to her. Not even Makiko Tanaka in her prime stands in the same arena as Doi.

In the 1990s it seemed clear that if any woman could become prime minister of Japan, it was her. She had the brains, the cunning and the guts. I admired her for them. She was a truly formidable personality. God bless her.

grant piper
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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