Readers in Council,
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I am sad about Takako Doi’s passing (“Pioneering ex-SDP chief Takako Doi dies at age 85,” Monday, September 29, 2014), probably because she was in her political prime when I arrived in Japan and so her passing makes me reflect on my own age and mortality. Older Japanese I know understand her accomplishments, but younger people are in the dark. Going head-to-head with corrupt dinosaurs like former Liberal Democratic Party Godfather Shin Kanemaru, Doi’s political success in the July 1989 general election, ending the LDP Diet majority, caused media and commentators to hail her for ushering in the new Age of Women, or “onna no jidai” in Japan. Alas, the conservative male gerontocracy revived itself, and now it’s conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is promoting the female agenda. But Abe’s position regarding women in politics, business and society pales in comparison to Doi. No female Japanese politician today can hold a candle to her. Not even Makiko Tanaka in her prime stands in the same arena as Takako Doi. In the 1990s it seemed clear that if any woman could become Prime Minister of Japan, it was her. She had the brains, the cunning, and the guts. I admired her for them. She was a truly formidable personality. God bless her.
Published on Thursday, October 2, 2014 as "Woman who took on 'dinosaurs.'"