(Mainichi: March 25, 2015 – p. 1)
Only 3% of all prefectural, municipal, and ward assemblies in Japan have 30% or more female members, a Mainichi Shimbun survey has found. In contrast, 306, or 19.2%, of the municipal assemblies across the nation have no female members. Although the Abe administration has set a goal of increasing the number of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2020, it will be extremely difficult for the local assemblies to achieve that goal.
The survey targeted the secretariats of local assemblies nationwide was conducted from December 2014 through February 2015. About 89% or 1,592 assemblies replied to the survey. According to the results of the survey, 52 assemblies, or 3.3% of the 1,592, have 30% or more female members.
The Oiso Municipal Assembly in Kanagawa Prefecture has eight female members (57.1%) out of 14 members in total. The Oiso Municipal Assembly is the only assembly that has more female members than male members across the nation. Following Oiso, both the Hayama Municipal Assembly in Kanagawa Prefecture and the Shimamoto Municipal Assembly in Osaka Prefecture have 50% of female members. About 70% of the 52 assemblies with high ratios of female members are located in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka metropolitan areas.
The national average for female representation in local assemblies is about 12%. According to the nonprofit incorporated foundation Japan Center for Women and Governance, the percentage of women who won in municipal and ward elections was 3.5% in the unified elections in 1983, but the percentage increased to 16% in the 2011 elections. At this rate, female representation in local assemblies is only expected to reach 20% in 2020.