‘I decided I could do better than them’: the women taking on Japan’s male-dominated politics
Female candidates in the local elections across the country this weekend face one of the world’s toughest glass ceilings
Ai Ishimori was teaching Japanese cookery classes in France when she was gripped by an urge to return to her home country.
“Shinzo Abe was prime minister at the time, and a group of older men were doing a bad job of running the country,” she says. “But I was unable to do anything about it. I was really worried about the direction my country was going in.”
Five years on, the 38-year-old is running in local elections in Tokyo – her first attempt to win political office and, she hopes, to start chipping away at the male domination of a G7 country where women are struggling to shatter one of the toughest glass ceilings in the world.
“I decided I could do better than them,” Ishimori tells the Guardian during a break in her campaign to win a seat on the Nerima local assembly in the capital’s north-west. “There is a gender gap in Japan in every area of life, and especially in politics. But there is a solution – more female politicians.”
Click here to read the paper published by The Guardian on 7 April 2023.