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Japan election

Japan's female election candidates aim for diversity breakthrough

Record 33% ratio of women on ballots seen as just a 'start'

The Liberal Democratic Party's Arfiya Eri, left, and the Constitutional Democratic Party's Yukiko Kaname are running in Japan's July 10 upper house election. (Source photos by Sayumi Take)

TOKYO -- Japan's upper house election next month poses a major gender equality test, with a record number of female candidates running in a country known for lagging behind on women's political participation.

Female hopefuls account for 181, or 33%, of the 545 contenders registered for the July 10 poll. From an advocate of equal rights for sex workers to a former United Nations official of Uyghur heritage, many of the candidates hope to not only make strides for women but to bring more diverse perspectives to Japanese politics.

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