News

Opinion: We are Fighting for Our Daughters' Futures

I have a daughter. She is 20 and just about to enter the world as an adult. What kind of world will she be engaging in?

America has a president who has bragged about sexual assault.

Republican men are pushing to vote to approve a man to the Supreme Court without investigating the allegations of sexual assault against him.

Republican women constituents are saying things like, “What boy hasn’t done this in high school?”

Why are they so adamantly supporting this man? So they can achieve their decades long push to finally rescind a woman’s right to control her own life.

If there is one mistake we women, democrats, liberals, feminists have made, it is that we mistook winning a battle for winning the war.

Sixty percent of Americans support a woman’s right to choose, so we thought the courts would never overturn it. If Kavanaugh is approved, Roe v Wade will be overturned.

We railed at the states that systematically made it difficult to impossible to retain access to health clinics for health care and abortions, but we never believed it would pass beyond a state’s rights issue. If Kavanaugh is approved, Roe v Wade will be overturned.

We didn’t understand that our fight needed to not only continue despite the gains we made in reproductive rights, it needed to expand.

By the time Phyllis Schlafley stopped passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, women had already begun to reap the benefits of the battles they had won, so work to pass the ERA virtually stopped. Brett Kavanaugh has sided with corporations over regular people on environmental, consumer protection and financial reform issues. If Kavanaugh is approved, many advances we have made—better pay, access to health care, family leave—are at risk of being overturned.

The republicans are hiding the advice Kavanaugh gave to the Bush administration on torture, spying on Americans, court nominees and lobbying. They are likely hiding the fact that the man supported the very policies that stained America’s reputation in the world.

We don’t know what will happen with this nomination. But it isn’t lost on women across the nation that it is a woman who has stepped up to challenge the man who is likely to be the deciding vote on Roe v Wade.

A record number of women are running for office. It isn’t lost on women across the nation that it is other women who are stepping up to challenge the policies that our male politicians have implemented.

Again, it is women who will step up with new ideas to remedy the issues that not only affect them, but all Americans. Because the policies women are striving for—equal pay, justice, better schools, access to reach our potential as individuals—will benefit everyone, even those who are willing to make excuses for men who behave badly.

There are many more battles to come. Unfortunately, we will be fighting some of the same battles we fought decades ago and though we had won.

The only thing you need to do is vote. Vote for democrats. Vote for Democratic women. And encourage your friends and family to vote, too.

You, me, a new batch of Democratic women in office have the power to make the world better for all of our daughters.

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Join DAJ's Write-Your-Reps to Make the Change You Want

Every Thursday, DAJ members meet at the Algate British Pub to talk politics and write our Representatives on the issues important to us. Each Thursday we write them on a different issue. Join us every Thursday or just sometimes. 


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Dinner and Discussion about the Supreme Court

Democrats are worked up over the tactics being used by Republicans in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearing. So, it was of great interest to attend a dinner on September 11th where we were able to discuss the Supreme Court and election tactics with Keio Law Professor David Litt at the Cheese Kitchen Racler. 

Half of the attendees were women, and much of the conversation entered around the likelihood of Roe vs Wade being overturned should Kavanaugh be confirmed. But we also discussed the Mueller investigation and the impeachment of Donald Trump. The Republicans are campaigning on the idea that Democratic wins in November will mean that Trump will be impeached, but in actuality, the ones discussing impeachment are primarily the Republicans. It is yet another attempt to scare voters to the polls, because, in fact, the Democrats are waiting for the results of the Mueller investigation before jumping to conclusions. While many of us at the dinner, and probably throughout the US, are personally appalled by Trump and want him gone, we confirmed that we are a country of laws and will wait to see what Mueller presents.

 As expected, the food was delicious, the conversation was interesting--and sometimes heated--but it confirmed what I knew all along: we can disagree on so much, but you can sit moderates and progressives and conservative Democrats at the same table, and they will have a reasonable, respectful, and diverse discussion.

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Interview with David Litt about the US Judicial System


With the Brett Kavanaugh hearings underway, this interview with Keio university Professor David Litt is timely and helps put the issues at stake in context. 

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Happy Democrats Abroad Day #DemsAbroadDay

I am so happy to be a Democrat. I wasn't always a Democrat. I grew up in a conservative household and voted for Reagan in my first election. But it didn't take long for me to see that Reagan and his Republican colleagues didn't care about women's rights, the environment, gay rights, or fairness to aspire to bigger things. They cared about business and tax cuts. Over the years, I have become more and more liberal as I see Repbulicans cutting taxes while crying about the debt, taking away a woman's right to choose while strapping her with more difficulty to make a living, tearing up the environment so a few industries can make millions or billions, making it more difficult for people to declare bankruptcy while making it easier for businesses to take advantage of consumers. I've watched as people lose health care and jobs and houses while businesses combine into bigger and bigger monopolies. The list goes on.

Democrats aren't perfect. But they offer solutions for people like me. I'm voting Democrat in the coming midterms. And I'm volunteering to get as many people to request absentee ballots as possible.

Please, register to vote and request your absentee ballot.
#DemsAbroadDay

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Focus on our Volunteers--Sherry Miyasaka


Sherry showed up at a DAJ meeting this past January. She was quiet, respectfully listened to the speakers, softly spoke to those around her, then kicked into gear and showed the rest of us how its done. She was crucial to the success of the DA Global Meeting, has volunteered for various GOTV events, and is now ranked #16 among DA members (yeah, that's worldwide) for phone banking, even though it is something she dreaded doing. 

Why did she step up now to volunteer? 

 Why I phone bank

by Sherry Miyasaka

I hate making phone calls. I guess that’s why my husband was incredulous when I said I would start phone banking.

But I read the news every day, and it makes me angry and disappointed to see my country's leaders passing laws or making rules that hurt so many people. Each day I read the news, my determination grows stronger to do whatever I can to give Democrats a majority in Congress in the upcoming midterm elections on November 6, 2018. My hope is that a Democratic Congress will help put a brake on the current president and even possibly make Congress legislate again. So, I do my best to ignore the discomfort of calling strangers, and spend as much time as I can calling US voters abroad and ask them to vote in these midterm elections. Thankfully, Democrats Abroad has made it is easy as possible for me.

I often recall the words of Julia Bryan, Chair of Democrats Abroad, who mentioned at the DA Global Meeting  that the millions of votes of those of us who live abroad can be the margin of victory for the Democratic Party. Statistics show that only a small percentage of eligible voters abroad actually vote in midterm elections. I feel that I can make a real difference in the upcoming election if I can motivate enough voters who live abroad to register to vote, request a ballot, and then vote. 

While we may not live in the US right now, every single one of us is affected by US policy. Whether we intend to return to the US or just care about our family and friends, or just love our country for its ideals that so many around the world aspire to, we need to make our voices heard. Whether we live in the US or abroad, since the US has influence around the world, we need to make our voices heard for the benefit of US citizens and even non-citizens whose very lives may depend on US policy even though they have no say in making that policy.

Îf you read this, please make sure you are registered to vote and that you have requested your ballot this year. And then, please send in your ballot. We all need to vote so the world knows that the US as we once knew it, is still for democracy and the rights of all.
Let’s Get Out The Vote! GOTV!
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Women's Launch Discussion about Feminism


In an age where women are making their voices heard, a few Democrats Abroad Japan members gathered at the Pink Cow in Akasaka to discuss the role of feminism in our current political climate. A majority of Americans--men and women-- support equality for women in the voting booth, the workplace and the community,  yet the fact that conservatives have been able to vilify the words feminism and feminist is testament to the difficulty Democrats have at framing their arguments. By focusing on criticising women for how they fight for their rights--too aggressively, too militantly, too much emphasis on minor details--conservatives have been able to dilute the arguments that bind people in solidarity.

The DAJ members were encouraged with the increasing number of women running for political office. More women in political leadership roles will not only offer a diversity of voices and opinions on the matters affecting women, they will address issues that are relevant to the lives of all Americans because there is an intersectionality between women's issues and all the major issues facing our country.

Environmental issues ARE women's issues: environments with clean air and water are fundamental to raising healthy families and overall health.

Class issues ARE women's issues: those in poverty are more likely to be women and children, live in communities with polluted water and air, and have less access to quality education.

Health care issues ARE women's issues: better access to health care affects every member of a family, and since women are often the health care workers and carers, it affects them in the workplace as well as their own access to care.

Race issues ARE women's issues: whether as mothers who have to worry about their children in an increasingly violent country, access to birth control, quality education, and access to higher education and employment, women of colour are far more likely to be adversely affected by local, state and federal government policies.

More women may be stepping up to run for office, but equally important is motivating women to get out to the polls to vote. The majority of women identify with Democratic policies, but if they don't vote, policies that are harmful to their families and themselves will keep them powerless. 

As members of Democrats Abroad Japan, our job will be contact voters in Japan and remind them to request their ballots, to inform them of the amazing candidates the Democratic Party is supporting, and urge them to vote.

We could use your help. In coming weeks, visit this website to learn about more activities and events where you can help Get Out The Vote.

Linda Gould, DAJ Kanto Chair


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Women's Caucus to Launch in Japan

On August 22nd, Japan will join Country Committees across the world in working to advance the rights of women when DAJ launches its Democrats Abroad Women's Caucus event. 


Women are taking a beating under this administration. But we will not sit back and take it. Democrats Abroad Japan is joining the Democrats Abroad Global Women's Caucus to show our strength, strategize about how to make our issues and concerns a priority to politicians, to identify politicians who help us for our fight for equality and how to motivate people to vote in the midterm elections.

Join us for our first meeting. Our discussion will be "Is feminism a bad label? What does feminism mean in today's environment?" "How do young feminists differ from middle-aged or older feminists?" "Can you be a feminist and NOT support a women's right to choose?" "What issues are important to today's feminists?" 

For more information and to RSVP, go to our events page at https://www.democratsabroad.org/jp-kanto_events

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Women's Caucus to Launch in Japan

On August 22nd, Japan will join Country Committees across the world in working to advance the rights of women when DAJ launches its Democrats Abroad Women's Caucus event. 


Women are taking a beating under this administration. But we will not sit back and take it. Democrats Abroad Japan is joining the Democrats Abroad Global Women's Caucus to show our strength, strategize about how to make our issues and concerns a priority to politicians, to identify politicians who help us for our fight for equality and how to motivate people to vote in the midterm elections.

Join us for our first meeting. Our discussion will be "Is feminism a bad label? What does feminism mean in today's environment?" "How do young feminists differ from middle-aged or older feminists?" "Can you be a feminist and NOT support a women's right to choose?" "What issues are important to today's feminists?" 

For more information and to RSVP, go to our events page at https://www.democratsabroad.org/jp-kanto_events

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We Need More Women In Politics--Here's Why

An Ode to the Women Who Have Shaped Me

I had a conversation recently that shook me to my core.

It was a normal conversation about politics that progressed to a one-sided shouting match. I was the calm one, but defended my criticisms of Trump and what I consider to be black-hearted conservative policies. Then, the person asked me, “Why do you even care? You don’t even live in America.”

God, I wish I had $10,000 for every time I was asked that question. But I calmly answered. “Because I have kids who are going to have to live in the world we are creating, because my husband and I would like to move back to the US someday, and because I love my country and want what’s best for all Americans. Because I’m American.”

“That’s debatable,” was the response from someone I know well (or thought I did) and respect, even though we disagree politically. From someone who I always thought respected me.

It felt like an earthquake. Like when the ground that has always been there to support you suddenly jerks and jolts and knocks you off your feet and tosses you around.

A few other hurtful insults were thrown at me, criticizing me for my liberal beliefs, with the result that I have spent significant time recently reflecting on how I developed from a Reagan-voting, military-loving, individualism-touting, bootstrap-raising, my-way-or-the-highway bullying, I-deserve-all-I have white woman to the compassionate and passionate liberal that I am today. I was raised conservative, but conservatism is as antithetical to me today as it was appealing when I was young. What changed me?

The amazing women who have been part of my life.

Of course it’s not that simple—no one who travels to foreign countries, attends university, reads extensively, has an astute partner, and lives abroad remains unchanged. But when I think about the moments that literally shifted my behaviour or way of thinking, they were connected to some woman in my life:

A boss, the first who cared about me as a person and not solely as an employee, who challenged my views on marriage and motherhood, and shared her feelings of lonliness as she grew older without a companion; my friend who showed me there was humor to be found in the frustration of raising kids, and if you didn’t tap into that humor, your children would suffer; another friend who was betrayed in the worst way but stood strong and fought for her future when it would have been so much easier to crumble; a colleague who pointed out my hypocrisy by asking a simple question, “How is your viewpoint less ideological?”; my female colleagues and now friends who supported each other when a misogynistic manager bullied and abused us while the male management did nothing; the role-model mothers in my community who patiently dealt with temper tantrums, unreasonable demands, and teenage snark; friends, family and colleagues who taught me how to be a friend, to open my mind to new possibilities, to listen, to understand that privilege is as much responsible for my success as my own efforts, and most importantly, to reflect on and challenge my own views, then to change them if they didn’t meet that challenge.

None of these women were aware at the time that they were influencing me. They didn’t see themselves as models of human behaviour with a mission to change someone’s worldview. Heck, I didn’t know how much they were influencing me. It took that face-slapping comment from a friend for me to reflect on and see how by simply being authentic and open, they helped mold a better human, a better citizen.

When you look at history’s list of heroes, so few are women. We rarely get the glory for our accomplishments. Yet our influence reaches deep into our societies. We are accomplished in our own right and inspire others to achieve. So many of our reactions and conversations appear to be insignificant moments that drift into the ether, but they actually resonate years later in the behaviour of our children, friends, strangers, and even ourselves. Our routine moments take on a life of their own when someone sees them as a way of coping with difficulties. Our day-to-day life is the ultimate example of soft power.

But we also aspire to more. Some of us want to play a stronger role in our government and businesses. And because we are women, we are told by other women to support each other. Madeline Albright famously said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

Hell aside, we SHOULD be helping each other. It is unfathomable to me that it was a woman who stopped the Equal Rights Amendment. I’m still furious that women helped elect a misogynist racist to the highest political office. And it is women who are often the most vicious critics of female celebrities, politicians and neighbors. They are a minority, but their power has been accentuated because so many of us have NOT been politically engaged. Now we are. But marches and protests are not enough.

We need more women in office. Run for office. Support a candidate. Vote.

The conversation I experienced was like an earthquake. So, too, was the election of Donald Trump. But like after every earthquake, there is a time for reuilding. For making what was destroyed better, stronger, more resilient.

We need more women in office. Run for office. Support a candidate. Vote.

There is a record number of women running for office this year. Not all deserve your vote (some are like Phyllis Schlafley who would take away our rights), but they all deserve your attention. I’m a Democrat and hope that every woman elected this year has a (D) after their name. But it is also important to keep in mind that it was two Republican women—Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski—who stood against their Party and voted to keep the Affordable Care Act, who are on record for being against overturning Roe v. Wade. Don’t support a woman candidate because she is a woman; support her because her actions will influence others to be strong, tolerant, compassionate, and engaged.

Yes, we influence with our soft power. But we can have an even stronger influence on our families, fellow Americans and country.

To do that, we need more women in office. Run for office. Support a candidate. Vote.

Vote. Vote. Vote.

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