Announcement of Biannual Elections 2019

It is time again for the DAJ bi-annual officers election!

The 2019 Election Committee of Democrats Abroad Japan members is Sarajean Rossitto, Jenise Treuting Steven Breyak & Leslie Anne Rogers.

We are pleased to be calling for nominations of candidates for the following positions:

  • National Officer positions:
    • Chair
    • Vice-Chair
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
  • Members-at-Large positions (one each from):
    • Hokkaido
    • Eastern/Northern Honshu
    • Western/Southern Honshu
    • Shikoku
    • Kyushu/Okinawa
  • One (1) DPCA Voting Representative Term: Two (2) years
Notes: No officer may serve for more than two consecutive terms in the same office. Pursuant to Article V, Section 1, “The Vice-Chair shall be of a different sex of the Chair.”

Key dates:

  • 3/18 - 4/11 Nominations period
  • 4/11 - 4/26 Candidate statements of 500 words due.
  • 5/13 - 6/14 Voting period
  • 6/17 Membership notified of election results.
Please submit nominations in writing no later than midnight Japan time on Thursday, April 11, to the Elections Committee to

All nomination e-mails should include:

  1. Complete name of the person nominated
  2. Contact information including phone number, mailing address, and email address; and
  3. Confirmation of the position you would like to run for or are nominating another person to run for.
More information will be coming soon by email and will be posted on the DAJ website at
Please direct all questions to the Committee by email: [email protected]
We look forward to receiving your nominations!



It’s clear that there aren’t enough people in politics that have a science background (see EPA leadership) or a teaching background. Perhaps we wouldn’t have people disputing climate change if there were more educated people in science leading this country.

What’s being done to get more scientists and engineers into US politics and how can we support those efforts? How many women with a science background are in politics? How are they being supported?

If you are a scientist, engineer or teacher, or know someone who is, urge them to become more involved in politics. They can either run for office (and these organizations will help them) or serve as advisors, speak up at town halls, or host events to inform the public.

Congressional Science & Engineering Fellowships (30 + orgs)

A partner society is a national or international scientific or engineering association that sponsors one or more fellows under the umbrella of the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. Societies are typically 501(c)(3) organizations with a majority of members at the doctoral levels who are professionally involved in research or education related to science and engineering. Partner societies conduct their own application and selection processes, and may offer different stipends and support.

Partnership is open to scientific or engineering societies. Partnership is not open to universities or university associations, academic institutions or consortia, trade associations, foundations, or commercial sponsors, or professional societies without a significant focus on science or engineering.

All partner societies agree to sponsor at least one congressional fellow; in addition, they may choose to sponsor an executive or judicial branch fellowship.

AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships

Providing opportunities for outstanding scientists and engineers to learn first-hand about federal policymaking while using their knowledge and skills to address today’s most pressing societal challenges.

Eagleton Science and Politics Fellowship Program

Established in 2015, it enables graduate students, post-docs, and faculty to explore intersections between science and politics in order to increase their understanding of how politics affects their disciplines and how they can effectively engage with political and policymaking leaders and institutions. The series highlights the need for improvements in communication between scientists and non-scientists and for expanding the pool of scientifically trained graduates interested in public service careers.



Sarajean outlined services available to promote women running for office and provide them the tools for successful campaigns.
Yuri explained the success of gender quotas in making women's issues important in government policy.
Alecia gave a talk on organizations that help women develop the skills necessary  for a successful run for office.

In 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was sent to the states for ratification. By 1977, 35 of the necessary 38 states ratified the amendment, and it looked like it was only a matter of time until the amendment would be enshrined in the Constitution. And then came Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative, upper-middle class housewife who used fear to rally similar-minded conservatives against the ERA. Their reasons? Women could be drafted if an ERA passed; women would lose alimony in divorce cases, and possibly their children; and--oh the horror!--unisex bathrooms would be permitted and gays would be able to marry!

It was a perfect example of how conservatives insist on imposing their beliefs on everyone. And, their fear-based tactics worked. Not only did no more states ratify the ERA, four states rescinded their ratification (it is uncertain if this was legal), and the ERA was DOA. Until 2017 and 2018, when Nevada and Illinois, respectively, ratified the ERA. 

We are now one state away from ratification (presuming the rescinded ratifications are not permitted, and that is a huge presumption. It would likely be challenged in the courts.).

But now, the question is: have women's rights come far enough that we don't need an Equal Rights Amendment? Many well-educated women are not even aware that we don't have an ERA, many states have passed their own ERAs, Congress has passed targeted laws that guarantee women's rights, some countries with the greatest gender equality do not have an ERA (think Iceland) and some that do have an ERA in their constitution are pathetically lacking in gender equality (think Japan). 

On January 20th, in recognition of the International Women's Rights March, DAJ members and others met to discuss gender equality in the world at large, and specifically in Japan and the US. We discussed whether an ERA is really needed in modern times, and the kinds of actions that we can take to fight for either an ERA or individual rights. Some key points included:

1) Pro: Having an ERA in the Constitution serves as a framework and would override state laws that could be discriminatory.

2) Con: it would be difficult to generate interest in passage since most people think women have equal rights already.

3) Pro: Passage of an ERA could not be overridden by future congresses, but individual laws could be.

4) Con: Passage of an ERA would make people think everything is solved and stop fighting for legislation that targets specific needs of women and the LGBTQ community.

 The group agreed that equity is just as important to fight for as equality, and while some were in favor of passage and others were ambivalent, no one was ultimately against passage.


2018 Wrap Up

Thank you to all of our members for your support in 2018. We had so many events, activities, meet ups, marches and vigils. From baseball games to protests, we kept each other sane while getting through two years of attacks by the Trump administration, and now, with our victories in November, we can put a stop to some of the most egregious policies Republicans are trying to enact. There is still much to do, and there is another election coming up. Elections never seem to stop anymore. And we will be right there, pushing the Party to work for policies that help those of us living abroad. Looking forward to seeing you again in 2019. 

And thank you for voting! 



Thanksgiving Party

Democrats had a lot to be thankful for this year--we won a majority in the House of Representatives, and we now have some breathing room AND someone who can do their job in Congress by investigating the accusations against the President and hold him accountable if it is shown he acted illegally. 

Democrats from throughout Tokyo and its environs met up at Two Dogs Taproom at Roppongi to celebrate our holiday and discuss politics and the things we are thankful for. 

We also presented Sherry Miyasaka with the Volunteer of the Year award for her varied and extensive volunteer efforts on DAJ's behalf. Besides helping plan and set up the Global Meeting in May, Sherry was crucial to the Get Out the Vote efforts. She joined other volunteers to attend various events and hand out voter registration materials, and she made more then 1000 calls asking DA members worldwide to vote. 

Linda Gould was also presented with a certificate of appreciation for her volunteer work on the Global Meeting and as Kanto Chair.

Enjoy the holidays, then join us for activities, events and actions in 2019 to prepare for the next election.

Happy holidays! 


Midterm Election Watch 2018

Photo by Yoshiaki Miura (Japan Times)

Democrats from across the Kanto region met at Two Dogs Taproom to follow election results in real time. 

The results were slow coming in, but we started with some bad news: Beto O'Rourke was defeated by Ted Cruz, Amy McGrath lost in Kentucky, and Andrew Gillum lost the Governor's race in Florida. Democrats were surging in the House races, but it was clear the Republicans would maintain control of the Senate, and possibly gain seats.

Two days later, the election watch is over, but the races are not. It appears there may be a recount in the Florida gubernatorial race as Rick Scott's lead is falling, and falling steadily. Although Brian Kemp--the candidate who seems to think he can oversee the election in which he is a candidate--has declared himself the winner, Stacy Abrams has NOT conceded and will not concede until every ballot is counted. And it seems her tenacity has paid off; the margin of Kemp's "win" is dropping and dropping. It appears there will be a run off, and the good news is that Kemp has resigned as Secretary of State, so he won't be overseeing the counting of remaining ballots in this election or those in a potential runoff. And it just may be possible that Kyrsten Sinema may win the Senate seat in Arizona.

Democrats hava a lot to be proud of. We won some key governorships. We won the house, we held our own in places that had long been Republican strongholds, and there will now be over 100 women in Congress. The 2019 Congress will be more diverse thanks to wins by Native and African Americans, young people, gay people, muslims, liberals and moderates. THIS is how Democrats will change the face of Congress and America. 

So, today, we celebrate the wins we have, we mourn what could have been if our other candidates had won. But tomorrow, we start all over again, because there are still major battles to be fought and still much work to be done.

Please join us.


Tokyo Harvest GOTV

Visitors to this year's Tokyo Harvest got more than delicious food and entertainment; they got the chance to register to vote and request an absentee  ballot. DAJ's super volunteers Sarajean, Jenise and Sherry are so committed to getting Americans to vote from abroad, they attend events throughout Tokyo to answer questions and address any problems people have about voting while living here in Japan. Thanks you guys!


Yakitori in Saitama

Democrats met up in Saitama on the day Congress voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The conversation naturally centered around that issue, but we also discussed how to move forward and how to motivate people to vote, but we also just got together and talked about local issues, the things that bring us together as a community--things like exhibitions, events, and shopping tips.

We are all eager to get together again in the coming months, so we hope you'll join us



The United States is ONE state short of passing the Equal Rights Amendment. 

These States have not yet passed it: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, and Arizona. 

The Democrats Abroad Women's Caucus is hosting a Webinar with the Executive Director of Equal Means Equal to strategize how to get at least one more state to pass the amendment. 

We have waited since 1982. Now is our time! Join us. 

For more information, about time and place, please click here


We Stand in Solidarity with the Women Coming Forward With Their Sexual Assault Stories

On September 25, join us in an act of solidarity with the women accusers. At any time during the morning, post a photo of yourself or the attached photo to any of your social media accounts with #BELIEVESURVIVORS. Include the message "I Stand in solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford and all women around the world who speak up against sexual assault." Please also include the hashtag #democratsabroadjapan.

The GOP did what they could to discredit Christine Blasey Ford. She stood strong, and though there is not yet an investigation into her allegations, she will get to testify at a hearing.

Now there are two more women who have come forward with their stories. There is a former girlfriend of Mike Judge's who has verified the wild parties attended during the time they were in high school. There is a Yale colleague who claims she was told that Kavanaugh likes women who look like models to clerk for him.

We don't know what happened. But we stand with those who have gone public with their stories, and at the minimum, demand an investigation into these allegations before the man is put in a position to rule on cases that affect our futures.