The report "Women in Parliament in 2018" by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), originally established in 1889 and said to be the first international political forum for parliamentary members, placed Japan 165th out of 193 countries in terms of the proportion of women among members of the lower house of parliament. In Japan, a mere 10.2 percent of the Lower House seats were occupied by women — well below the global average of 24.3 percent and 19.6 percent among Asian countries. Only one woman, Satsuki Katayama, is in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, accounting for just 5 percent of its members and putting Japan at 171st out of 188 countries.

These figures may prompt some to say that the Diet is closed to women. But I have a slightly different opinion. The truth is that politics is rather not an attractive vocation for women. Or you could say that most Japanese people, both women and men, recently do not seem interested in becoming a politician.

In fact, nearly 27 percent of the seats in prefectural assemblies up for grabs in a nationwide series of local elections this month were decided without a vote because not enough candidates emerged to necessitate a contest. The ratio topped the previous high marked in the last nationwide local elections four years ago by about 5 percentage points. Given this reality, it is speculated that in the near future many small villages and towns will not be able to sustain their local assemblies due a lack of candidates seeking to become assembly members.