News & Current Affairs

Japan: No Women Appointed As Vice Ministers In Reshuffled Cabinet

By Azeezat Okunlola | Sep 15, 2023

The government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida approved a new list of senior and parliamentary vice ministers on Friday, and there were no women on it, which was in stark contrast to the new Cabinet lineup, which included a record-tying five women.

All of the male lawmakers on the list are either members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party or the junior coalition partner Komeito, and there are a total of 28 parliamentary vice ministers and 26 senior vice ministers.

At a press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno defended the government's appointments, saying that they have "the right people in the right positions," with an eye toward increasing the Cabinet's diversity.

Kishida apparently tried to revive his Cabinet's flagging popularity by naming five women ministers on Wednesday, including the top diplomat.

A former opposition lawmaker was selected as one of two women appointed as special advisers to Kishida by the government, a move that some see as a precursor to a possible realignment of the ruling coalition.

Wakako Yata, 57, a former deputy chief of the Democratic Party for the People, a party supported by labor unions, is now an advisor in charge of wages and employment.

In 2016, the former head of Panasonic's union was elected to the House of Councilors. After being defeated in the 2022 election for the Upper House, however, she decided to leave politics.

The appointment has sparked rumors that Kishida plans to bring the opposition party, which is popular among labor union members, into the ruling coalition.Michiko Ueno, a 65-year-old lawmaker in the LDP Upper House, is the other female special adviser, and she is in charge of women's empowerment and the administration of the elderly and consumers.

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