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Lawyer Fuchigami 1st Woman to Lead Japan Legal Profession

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Reiko Fuchigami speaks at a press conference in Tokyo after being elected next president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations on Friday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Lawyer Reiko Fuchigami was elected next president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations on Friday, which makes her the first woman to lead any of the country’s three areas of legal professions.

Fuchigami, 69, beat her rival candidate, Satoshi Oikawa, 58, in the election to choose the successor to outgoing Motoji Kobayashi, 72. The two-year term of office will start on April 1.

As the first woman to run in the election, Fuchigami called for the promotion of gender equality, while Oikawa voiced his opposition to a drastic increase in the number of lawyers.

So far, no woman has become any of the federation’s president, chief justice of the Supreme Court or prosecutor-general at the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office.

At a press conference, Fuchigami said she bears a heavy responsibility of becoming the first female president of the federation.

Noting that the share of woman is increasing also among judges and prosecutors, Fuchigami said, “I expect that in the near future, women will be at the top of both.”

Registered as a lawyer in 1983, Fuchigami was the first woman to head the Tokyo Bar Association. She also served as secretary-general of the federation.