The Japan Federation of Bar Associations on Friday elected its first female chief since its establishment in 1949.
Reiko Fuchigami, 69, will succeed Motoji Kobayashi, 72, effective April 1 after the organization's election committee formalizes the result later this month. She will be the first female head of any of the country's three judicial bodies of lawyers, prosecutors and judges.
"While recognizing the weight of my responsibility in the post, I will make all-out efforts as a figure that can embody this federation's gender equality principle," Fuchigami told a press conference.
Fuchigami, who registered as a lawyer in 1983 after graduating from Hitotsubashi University, is set to assume the post as many people in Ishikawa Prefecture and the vicinity face various legal challenges linked to a powerful earthquake that struck the region on New Year's Day.
"Lawyers should assist people who are affected by natural disasters. It is important to care about such people individually," she said, based on her experience of working to help people affected by large-scale natural disasters such as the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
There were more than 45,000 eligible voters in Friday's election and the turnout was a record low of 33.23 percent, according to the federation. Fuchigami earned 11,110 of the 15,175 ballots cast by participating lawyers.