A total of 96 female candidates, including 60 for the constituencies and 36 for the proportional representation segment, are running in the June 10 House of Councillors election. This figure is nine less than in the 2013 Upper House election. The percentage of the female candidates is 24.7%, slightly higher than the 24.2% marked in the previous election because the total number of candidates has dropped. Although the ratio of women candidates running in the election this time is the second highest following the 27.6% marked in the 2001 election since the present Upper House electoral system combining constituencies and proportional representation was introduced in 1983, it cannot be said that the doors have opened wider for women to enter the political arena.
Breaking the candidates down by political party, the Japanese Communist Party has fielded 20 female candidates, the largest number, accounting for 35.7% of all its candidates. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has filed 12 women, 16.4% of all its candidates and the main opposition Democratic Party has filed 11 female candidates, or 20.0% of its total. The Komeito party has increased its female candidates from two to three.
The Abe administration has set a goal of increasing the percentage of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2020. A suprapartisan parliamentary group had prepared a bill to revise the Public Offices Election Law and other bills to increase the number of female Diet members, but the group failed to submit legislation to the latest Diet session.