Is It Time for a Japanese Female PM?

There is excitement in the air as rumors of a protégé of former premier Shinzo Abe entering the race to succeed Yoshihide Suga are confirmed. Seen here is Sanae Takaichi, a former communications minister, who brandished her conservative credentials in launching her bid Wednesday to lead Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party. She is running to strengthen Japanese economic security to counter an increasingly aggressive China.

Takaichi, 60, was one of the several women handpicked by Shinzo Abe to show his commitment to gender equality, and may be viewed as a member of Abe’s Angels. But she is no angel in her political beliefs, she is a conservative and hardline LDP politician who believes in strengthening Japanese security to face up to a belligerent and aggressive China, especially in the wake of a progressively isolationist and uncertain United States.

From a geopolitical perspective, the election of Takaichi as the new prime minister of Japan will be a welcome development for many countries. The United States will be happy that the new prime minister will help keep China’s growing ambitions in check. China, which is always waiting to fish in troubled waters, has been a painful thorn on the side of India. It has now been sending signals of friendship to the new Afghanistan regime with a view to completely encircling India, with Pakistan to the West. This unholy alliance between Afghanistan, China, and Pakistan could well become an ‘Axis of Evil’ and greatly strengthen and expand the business of terror, originally based in Pakistan.

Australia would also welcome Sanae Takaichi as the next prime minister of Japan, in view of the growing hostility between Australia and China, based in part on the growing hunger in China for Australian raw materials. In short, the evolving ‘Quad’ grouping would be satisfied at the election of the first female prime minister in Japan.

It seems unlikely she will go far in this race, given the history of male-dominated Japanese politics. It is more likely that another dyed-in-the-wool consensus politician in the old mold will emerge victorious in the end. But for the time being, Takaichi’s candidature as the new Japanese Madonna has electrified her rivals, and the electorate in general.