2 women in Japan party leadership race get mixed reactions

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TOKYO (AP) — The two women in the Japanese governing party’s four-way leadership race was a step forward for gender equality. But their defeat was no surprise. The winner in Wednesday’s race, as expected, was former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, a veteran considered part of the ruling establishment. Women are a tiny minority in Japanese politics, especially within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Only about 10% of Japan’s parliament is female, and many tend to try to advance by showing party loyalty rather than pursuing equality. The candidates themselves seem polar opposites. The ultra-conservative Sanae Takaichi advocates a kind of paternalistic nationalism. The liberal-leaning, pacifist Seiko Noda called for measures to address the declining population and support women’s advancement.

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