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Yōko Kamikawa

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Yōko Kamikawa
上川 陽子
Official portrait, 2023
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
13 September 2023
Prime MinisterFumio Kishida
Preceded byYoshimasa Hayashi
Minister of Justice
In office
16 September 2020 – 4 October 2021
Prime MinisterYoshihide Suga
Preceded byMasako Mori
Succeeded byYoshihisa Furukawa
In office
3 August 2017 – 2 October 2018
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byKatsutoshi Kaneda
Succeeded byTakashi Yamashita
In office
20 October 2014 – 7 October 2015
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byMidori Matsushima
Succeeded byMitsuhide Iwaki
Member of the House of Representatives
Assumed office
18 December 2012
ConstituencyShizuoka 1st district
In office
25 June 2000 – 21 July 2009
ConstituencyTōkai PR block
Shizuoka 1st district
(2000–2003, 2005–2009)
Personal details
Born (1953-03-01) 1 March 1953 (age 71)
Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party
EducationUniversity of Tokyo (BA)
Harvard University (MPP)
WebsiteOfficial website

Yōko Kamikawa (上川 陽子, Kamikawa Yōko, 1 March 1953), is a Japanese politician and former think tank researcher who has served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs since September 2023. She served as the Minister of Justice from September 2020 to October 2021, and also served as Minister of State for Gender Equality and Social Affairs in the cabinets of Shinzō Abe and Yasuo Fukuda. She has been a member of the House of Representatives since December 2012.

Early life and education

Born in the city of Shizuoka in Shizuoka Prefecture, she graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1977. After her graduation in March, she worked as a researcher from Mitsubishi Research Institute from April. In 1988 she received a master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University In addition, she worked as a fellow under US Senator Max Baucus. .[1]

Political career

House of Representatives

She was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in June 2000. She has been re-elected at every election until 2009. She was elected again in 2012. She has represented the Shizuoka 1st district between 2000 and 2003, 2005 to 2009 and again since 2012. She also represented the Tōkai proportional representation block between 2003 and 2005.[1]

Minister of Justice

During her time as Minister of Justice, Kamikawa ordered 16 executions where 13 of those executed being former members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, whose acts of domestic terrorism included the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack.[2]

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Following a cabinet reshuffle on 13 September 2023, she was appointed minister of foreign affairs.[3]

She made a surprise visit to Kyiv, Ukraine in January 2024, where she expressed Japan's support for Ukraine and the Japanese government's willingness of strengthening aid and bilateral ties with the country. She also signalled that the Japanese government would be willing to co-lead Ukraine's proposed peace agreement on radiation and nuclear else safety.[4]

Kamikawa in Brazil to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in February 2024

In addition, Kamikawa has made other recent trips abroad.[5] Early February 2024, she visied Samoa and Fiji to attend the 5th Ministerial Interim Meeting of the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM). During the meeting, participants shared views on policy developments and changing international situations. In Late February, Kamikawa attended the G20 Foreign Minister's Meeting in Brazil, to discuss current global affairs.

March 2024, Kamikawa visited New York, United States of America. During her visit, her job was to chair the Ministerial Meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on "Nuclear Disarmarment and Non-Proliferation." She also attended other meetings.

Political views

Gender Equality

Kamikawa has highlighted the importance of women's perspectives in making the society better.[6] During her interview, she has explained her view through her belief on diversity. She thinks that in a diverse society, the society is able to consider a range of perspectives and become aware of aspects that may have been previously overlooked. On this note, she adds that it is essential for society as a whole to actively incorporate women's perspectives that may have been overlooked in the past and to embrace change.

As the WPL ambassador in Japan, I pledge that I will take these themes into political discussions and do my best to bear substantial outcome, in addition to attaining the numerical goals.[7]

The above quote is based on the Women Political Leaders (WPL) Summit held in Tokyo in 2019. During this time, she highlighted the importance of health and decent work, release from poverty and violence for women.

In May 2024, Kamikawa was accused of equating women's worth with childbirth after asking "how can we women call ourselves women without birthing this person" during a rally for the Shizuoka Prefecture gubernatorial election. She subsequently retracted her remarks, saying that she had meant to ask female voters to exercise their power to elect the LDP candidate just as she was "born" as a House of Representatives member in the 2000 election.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b "上川 陽子(かみかわ ようこ)" (in Japanese). Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  2. ^ "Japanese justice minister's 16 execution orders the most since end of death penalty moratorium in 1993". July 26, 2018.
  3. ^ "第2次岸田再改造内閣の閣僚名簿発表" (in Japanese). The Sankei Shimbun. September 13, 2023. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  4. ^ "Kamikawa's surprise visit to Ukraine sent an important signal". The Japan Times. January 15, 2024. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  5. ^ "Foreign Minister's Page". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. April 10, 2024.
  6. ^ Harakawa, Takao; Shimbun, Sankei (March 14, 2024). "INTERVIEW: Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa: Women's Perspectives Make Society Better". Retrieved April 11, 2024.
  7. ^ "Women Political Leaders". Women Political Leaders. February 20, 2024. Retrieved April 11, 2024.
  8. ^ "Japan minister queries women's worth without birth in election speech". Kyodo News. May 18, 2024. Retrieved May 20, 2024.
  9. ^ "Japan foreign minister retracts controversial "birthing" remark". Kyodo News. May 19, 2024. Retrieved May 20, 2024.
Political offices Preceded byMidori Matsushima Minister of Justice 2014–2015 Succeeded byMitsuhide Iwaki Preceded byKatsutoshi Kaneda Minister of Justice 2017–2018 Succeeded byTakashi Yamashita Preceded byMasako Mori Minister of Justice 2020–2021 Succeeded byYoshihisa Furukawa Preceded byYoshimasa Hayashi Minister of Foreign Affairs 2023–present Incumbent
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Yōko Kamikawa
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