Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Japan has its first female PM — she’s a dog

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One of the women often cited as a possible candidate to break through the bamboo ceiling and become Japan’s first woman prime minister says she’s been pipped to the post by her dog.

Yuriko Koike, a former defence and environment minister who raised eyebrows by standing against the current prime minister, Taro Aso, in the race for leadership of the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) last year, keeps a photo in her office of her Yorkshire terrier, “Sori”, which means “prime minister” in Japanese.

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“She’s a female. So you see Japan already has its first female prime minister,” she joked when I interviewed her this week.

Though Koike said in the interview she would only stand for the party leadership again if the right conditions arose, her dog’s name may be a sign that her ambitions for the top job are simply on the back burner while the LDP struggles with voter dissatisfaction magnified by the deepening economic crisis.

Desperate times, desperate measures?

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With Prime Minister Taro Aso’s public support tanking ahead of a tough election this year, some lawmakers in Japan’s conservative ruling party — long dominated by dark-suited men — are pondering the once unthinkable — replacing a him with a her.

Opinion polls show voter support for Aso,┬áJapan’s third prime minister in less than two years,┬ánear or even below 10 percent, and a hefty majority want him to resign within months.

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