Towards a "Society in which all Women Shine": Determinants of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Shift Towards "Womenomics" and a Liberal Feminist Policy Agenda

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Christley, Olyvia, Foreign Affairs - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Walsh, Denise, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Schoppa, Leonard, Department of Politics, University of Virginia

This thesis seeks to understand why Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shifted from a conservative gender policy agenda in his first administration to a liberal feminist gender policy agenda during his second administration. I argue that, in addition to prior work that has emphasized the importance of international norms in shaping Japanese gender policy, the difference in policy preferences across the two administrations cannot be understood without also taking into account the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) extended period as the opposition party between 2009-2012 and the role LDP party member Yuriko Koike played during this time in pushing for “womenomics” to become part of the LDP’s long term economic policy. I also argue that the rise of “womenomics” is best understood within the context of Japan’s long history of state feminism and preoccupation with the falling birth rate. As a result, I posit that Japan’s most recent effort to create a “society in which all women shine” is neither unique nor revolutionary when viewed through a historical lens.

MA (Master of Arts)
Japan , Shinzo Abe, Yuriko Koike, Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Gender, Womenomics, Policy Preferences, Fertility Crisis, Gender Policy, State Feminism
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