In: Journal of Gender-Based Violence, Vol 1, No 2, 2017, pp. 205-219
Three women were appointed to politically powerful and historically significant positions in Japan in 2016. Koike Yuriko became the first female governor of Tokyo, Renho Murata became the leader of the opposition party, the Democratic Party, and Inada Tomomi became the Minister of Defence. Despite these gains, Japanese politics can be a hostile place for women. Japan's national legislative assembly has the lowest representation of women among OECD countries, and harassment of women in politics is common. Situating Japan within the emerging ‘Violence Against Women in Politics’ (VAWP) literature, the author draws on a 2014 survey of women politicians about their experiences of sexual harassment as well as interviews with individual women politicians. Harassment is a 'hidden' problem due to ineffective legislation and a lack of awareness of what forms it takes. The author argues that the first step in combating sexual harassment of women in politics in Japan is to make it visible.