The position of Vice Minister is the seed corn of future ministers. Despite the brief span of time the Democratic Party of Japan has been in power, a goodly smattering of the present members of the Cabinet have a stint as Vice Minister under their belts. These include the PM (Vice Minister of Finance), the Finance Minister (Vice Minister of Defense), the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare* (Vice Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare), the Minister of Justice (Vice Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications), the Minister for Post Disaster Reconstruction (Vice Minister of the Cabinet Office) and the Minister National Strategy, Economic and Fiscal Policy (Vice Minister of the Cabinet Office).
So how many of the 22 Vice Ministers announced on Tuesday are women, giving us a peek at what may be a new generation of leaders?
Mori Yuko, Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, is the sole woman among among the twenty-two -- and even she has to share responsibilities, as MEXT is assigned two vice ministers.
Well, then how many women are there amongst the five (the maximum number allowed) Special Advisors to the Prime Minister, another post whose placeholders have risen to the rank of Minister?
The Liberal Democratic Party in its Koizumi and post-Koizumi years did a heck of a better job placing women in positions of influence and power.
Speaking of Koizumi Jun'ichiro, women and power: Sheeeeee's Back. A decade after her stormy tenure as Koizumi's Minister of Foreign Affairs, where the bureaucrats beneath her colluded with the press and Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo to undermine her authority, Tanaka Makiko is the new Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Expect torture and fireworks.
Oh yes, and how many of the 37 chairs of the House of Representatives committees are women?
* Note that the MOD uses American spelling but the MHLF uses British spelling.