TOKYO – Seiko Hashimoto became the first Japanese woman to win an Olympic medal in speed skating after placing third in the 1,500 meters at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, making seven games in total as she also competed in cycling.
The 54-year-old, who doubles as minister in charge of women’s empowerment, helped Tokyo land the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games as a Japanese Olympic Committee board member.
Hashimoto was first elected to the House of Councillors in 1995. Her absence from Diet sessions in 2000 to give birth prompted the Diet to allow maternity leave for its members for the first time.
A Hokkaido native, Hashimoto became the first female head of the Liberal Democratic Party’s upper house caucus in 2016.