Is Japan ready for its first female prime minister?

Tokyo Letter: The possibility of a historic first has enlivened an otherwise dull race

Sanae Takaichi, a candidate for the presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Photograph: Philip Fong/Pool/EPA

Sanae Takaichi, a candidate for the presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Photograph: Philip Fong/Pool/EPA

By the end of the month, Japan will effectively have a new leader and, unusually, two of the four candidates are women. That has led to speculation that the nation might finally get its first female prime minister.

Japan is regularly rapped for its lack of diversity: about 10 per cent of politicians in its lower house are women. The gender index published annually by the World Economic Forum ranks Japan in 120th place out of 150 countries.

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