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Tuesday, 24th January 2012
In General Japan News,

Naomi Koshi vows to support Japanese women

Japan's youngest-ever female mayor, Naomi Koshi, has vowed to improve the lives of women in the country after winning the election in the city of Otsu, Shiga Prefecture.

The 36-year-old former lawyer and Harvard graduate has revealed that a big inspiration for abandoning her successful legal career to move into politics was a determination to change things for women in Japan, the Mainichi Daily reported.

As a child, the mayor-elect watched on as her own mother abandoned a long-term career at a design firm to look after her elderly mother, Ms Koshi has said that she is determined to give Japanese women more opportunities.

The role of women in Japanese society is often limited, she says, and this needs to change.

"Work or kids? Or sometimes caring for an ill family member? I want to change the lives of women currently forced to choose from among these options," the news provider reported her as saying.

After completing her studies at Harvard Law School, Ms Koshi worked as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer in the US, but has long held ambitions to return to her native Otsu.

Despite having practically no experience in the world of politics, she managed to persuade her fellow Otsu citizens of her determination, triumphing over the incumbent Makoto Mekata.

Throughout the election she slept for just three hours most nights as she canvassed hard, spending a great deal of time studying numerous projects in the city.

This determination helped turn the tide in her favour, persuading those who thought she was too young or inexperienced to give her their backing.

Now for the first time in its history Shiga Prefecture has a female governor, while its capital Otsu also has a female mayor and this can only be positive for the lives of women in the central region that lies just east of Kyoto.

Written by Kimberley Homer