Legal milestone as Japan bar federation elects 1st woman head

Seasoned lawyer Reiko Fuchigami achieved a legal milestone by becoming the first woman to be elected president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.

Until now, none of Japan’s three judicial organizations of lawyers, prosecutors and judges has been headed by a woman.

Fuchigami’s two-year term of office will begin on April 1. She is a member of the Tokyo Bar Association.

Her election will be formally approved after the JFBA’s election administration committee meets on Feb. 20.

Fuchigami, 69, is from Nagasaki Prefecture and a graduate of Hitotsubashi University Faculty of Law.

At the Tokyo Bar Association, she became its first female president in 2017. She has also served as vice president and secretary general of the JFBA, which has 46,000 members.

“The responsibility of being the first female president is heavy, but as the embodiment of gender equality, I will devote myself wholeheartedly to the task,” Fuchigami said at a Feb. 9 news conference. “We must change the landscape by having a woman at the top.”

The presidential election was a runoff between Fuchigami and Satoshi Oikawa, 58, a member of the Chiba Bar Association.