Voters in Japan have elected a 36-year-old woman as the country’s youngest female mayor, in a nation where older men make up the vast majority of politicians.
Naomi Koshi, a graduate of Harvard law school, beat a male incumbent twice her age to take the honours in Otsu, the capital city of Shiga prefecture.
Shiga’s governor is also female, meaning it is the first place in Japan where a region’s two top jobs are held by women.
Koshi, who was backed by the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, beat 70-year-old Makoto Mekata by a margin of five-to-four.
“I want to work on expanding childcare and other services,” the Mainichi Shimbun quoted Koshi as telling cheering supporters late Sunday.
Japan has few women among political and business leaders, making up just 11 per cent of lower house members in national parliament and one per cent of corporate leaders, according to a government report.
The paucity of women in senior roles is often cited as a reason for the country’s relatively poor provision of daycare, itself touted as a contributing factor in Japan’s declining birthrate as women put off motherhood in favour of pursuing their careers.