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The DPJ and Women: The Limited Impact of the 2009 Alternation of Power on Policy and Governance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2016

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The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) saw forty of its forty-six female candidates elected in the 2009 lower house election; twenty-six were first-time candidates. Recently, both the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the DPJ have supported more women as “change” candidates in response to changing electoral incentives that favor broad appeals. The DPJ's victory, however, has not had a large impact on women in terms of governance or policy. An exploration of child allowance, day care provision, and dual surname legislation under the DPJ reveals that low seniority and the lack of a critical mass have prevented DPJ women from overcoming significant veto points. The electoral incentives of the emerging two-party system have resulted in a larger number of women in office, but the volatility of the system has sustained a weak voice for women in policymaking.

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Copyright © East Asia Institute 

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