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Record number of women elected in Japan

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TOKYO, Sep 12, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A record 43 women were elected legislators in Japan's Sunday election, surpassing the previous high of 39, set in 1946 when women first entered the Diet.

Altogether 147 women stood as candidates in the election for the lower house. The number was two fewer than in the last election in 2003, but since the Liberal Democratic Party gave preference to women on its proportional representation list, all 26 of the party's female candidates were elected, the Mainichi Shimbun reported Monday.

Women account for a record 9 percent of all elected candidates.

Actively backing women was part of the LDP's strategy to win seats held by Diet members who had opposed privatization of Japan's postal system. The party had only 11 female candidates in the previous election.

The number of women elected from the Democratic Party dropped from 15 in the last election to seven.

Four women from the New Komeito Party and two from the Japanese Communist Party were elected, both the same number as in the previous election. Two women were elected from the Social Democratic Party.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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