Half-Tai­wanese woman to lead Ja­pan’s op­po­si­tion

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

TOKYO: Ja­pan’s main op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Party yes­ter­day elected a for­mer cabi­net min­is­ter as its first fe­male leader, fol­low­ing a last­minute hic­cup when she was found to hold dual cit­i­zen­ship in vi­o­la­tion of Ja­panese law.

Renho, 48, who goes by her given name only, hopes to re­pair the party’s im­age, bat­tered by three years in power that were plagued by in­fight­ing, pol­icy flip flops and un­kept prom­ises that handed Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s Lib­eral Demo­cratic Party (LDP) a land­slide elec­tion win in 2012.

Born to a Ja­panese mother and Tai­wanese fa­ther, the for­mer TV an­nouncer and mother of twins was em­bar­rassed this week when she dis­cov­ered she held Tai­wanese as well as Ja­panese cit­i­zen­ship.

The law re­quires those with dual cit­i­zen­ship to choose one by age 22 and when opt­ing for Ja­pan, endeavour to re­nounce the other na­tion­al­ity. But there is no penalty for not do­ing so.

Renho had pre­vi­ously said she be­lieved pa­per­work to re­nounce her Tai­wanese cit­i­zen­ship had been com­pleted when she was a teenager but was re­cently no­ti­fied by the de facto Tai­wanese em­bassy in Ja­pan that her Tai­wanese cit­i­zen­ship was still valid.

“I would like to apol­o­gise for the re­cent trou­ble I have caused by my un­clear mem­ory and state­ments,” she said in a speech ahead of the vote.

Renho is one of a hand­ful of women to grab the spot­light lately in Ja­pan’s male-dom­i­nated cor­ri­dors of power, along with de­fence min­is­ter To­momi Inada and Tokyo gover­nor Yuriko Koike. – Reuters

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