Japanese Journal of Political Science

Exploring the Low Levels of Women's Representation in Japanese Local Government

a1 Department of Policy Studies, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS

Article author query
bochel c   [Google Scholar] 
bochel h   [Google Scholar] 


Although women have consistently outvoted men in elections in Japan since the 1970s, the country has a relatively poor record in terms of women being elected to representative bodies. In recent years, there have been increases, particularly in the number of women in the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, but at the local level the rate of change has been slower.

As in other states, a number of propositions have been put forward to explain the low numbers of women in local assemblies. Drawing upon a variety of sources, including the developing literature and interviews with women councillors and others, this article seeks to identify the variety of factors that have contributed to holding down levels of female representation in local government in Japan. It examines these in the context of recent changes and considers the extent to which there is the prospect for further change.