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Women big winners in local elections

Date Posted: 1999-05-01

A record number of women were victorious in local elections held over the weekend, with Japanese voters sweeping in more than 1,000 female candidates. Hiroko Uehara, 49, became the first female district mayor in Tokyo and fourth in the nation, when she was elected to the post in Kunitachi, west of Tokyo, where she had been a member of the local assembly. Uehara, backed by the Social Democratic Party and the Japan Communist Party, narrowly defeated her male opponent, Yuko Saeki, who received powerful support from three of the nation's leading parties - the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the Liberal Party. Uehara received 15,942 votes against Saeki's 14,691. "I have never taken into account in my work the fact that I am a woman. But if my becoming mayor helps inspire other women, I think I have done a good job," the Asahi Shimbun quoted Uehara as saying.

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