There will be some specials if Sanae Takaichi wins the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership race in Japan and becomes Prime Minister. She would then become the 100 Prime Minister of Japan and the very first female Prime Minister.
Takaichi is the second woman to run for the leadership of the PLD after Yuriko Koike, the current governor of Tokyo, and is joined just before the deadline by another woman in that race, Seiko Noda.
The road to Chucho Kantei, or the prime minister’s office, has not been easy for any politician in Japan and is much more difficult when it comes to a female candidate. Takaichi easily cleared the hurdle of a minimum of 20 backers in the ruling PLD before qualifying to enter the leadership race before the September 29 deadline.
Takaichi also received support from former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In declaring her candidacy, she also unveiled a series of detailed policy positions, fully in line with Abe’s policies.
Originally from Nara Prefecture in western Japan, Takaichi began her journey as a legislator long ago by winning her first seat in the Lower House of the National Diet in 1993. Her convictions and political thoughts are in tune with those of former Prime Minister Abe, who has often earned them both the title of “conservative” in Japanese politics. More often than not, Abe and Takaichi have been referred to as conservative “hawkish” – a term inappropriate for post-1945 Japanese political classes.
The term “hawk” is often used loosely and is not understood by many diligently. For the political leaders of post-war Japan, who call only for their nation’s self-defense, every act of aggression – whether political, economic or military – receives the fleeting description of “warmongering” .
As China’s military build-up and its claims to land and sovereignty continue to increase in East Asia and throughout the Indo-Pacific, it would be prudent for any new Japanese prime minister to come from the PLD or elsewhere, seriously think about Japan’s policy in China and examine the direction of the relationship. Remember that policies take time and capacities take decades to build and develop. On the other hand, intention and strategy can be designed or changed overnight.
Takaichi’s firm stance on China and North Korea, and the collusion of these two neighbors with each other and with Russia, should be the call of the hour for any PLD leader elsewhere. She called for scrupulous measures such as creating new legislation to prevent the release of key technologies to countries like China, citing the dangers associated with the misuse of such technologies – which is a welcome announcement.
Ironically, 21st century Japan remains caught in a 20th century constitutional deadlock, where article 9 of its post-war constitution states that Japan will not maintain an army, navy, air force or any other force. military. It is high time for Japan to amend these archaic clauses in its post-war governance framework that fall short of today’s geopolitical and geostrategic realities.
In the 75 years since the end of World War II, too much water has flowed under Asia’s strategic bridges for any country to sit on the sidelines. Circumstances call on every democratic nation in contemporary Asia to devise a reinvigorated security strategy to protect its territorial integrity and national sovereignty.
It should be remembered that the draft constitutional amendment of the PLD of 2012 proposed the possession of “defense forces”. Takaichi declared his intention of a constitutional amendment and made explicit reference to this point, calling for a much needed increase in investment in defense capabilities.
Above all, Sanae Takaichi’s candidacy could well become a turning point in the Japanese debate on gender identity and marginalization. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap Index 2020, Japan is ranked 120 out of 156 countries. Despite elements of bias in the report, it overwhelmingly highlights the gender gap, especially in terms of political empowerment and economic opportunity. RELATED: To maintain Japan’s economic growth, more educated women should pursue careers and BOOK REVIEW | “Beyond the Gender Gap in Japan”, edited by Gill Steel
Weaknesses in the WEF analysis aside, the ranking becomes much more visible given that Japan is a G-7 country, and for a G-7 country to rank this low, it invariably reflects the gender representation in areas of economic participation. and opportunities, political empowerment and academic development.
Given these characteristics, the current list of candidates for the leadership position of the LDP, half of whom are women, suggests the vote leading to the KantÃ©i could be a watershed moment for the female population of Japan as a whole. The opportunity has presented itself to shatter the glass ceiling of long-standing gender disparity and international ostracism, paving the way for a 21st century of generational change in Japan that offers women an equal footing to assert their deserved and legitimate place, at work and in society.
Interestingly, Takaichi is known to admire former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who said in 1965: âIn politics, if you want to say something, ask a manâ¦ If you want something done, ask. to a woman.
The time may have come for Japan to get things done!
Author: Dr Monika Chansoria
Dr Monika Chansoria is a senior researcher at the Japanese Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the JIIA or any other organization with which the author is affiliated. She tweet @MonikaChansoria. Find more articles from Dr Chansoria here to JAPAN Before.