Naomi Shimazaki of the Ainu Party has announced that she will be running in the election for the Hokkaido 9th district seat, previously occupied by former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
Interestingly enough, PM Hatoyama was a supporter of Ainu causes (perhaps in part due to the fact that many Ainu make up the constituency of the Hokkaido 9th district), and his retirement from politics has given Ms. Shimazaki the opportunity to run for his seat.
Another interesting twist is that Ms. Shimazaki will be running against former representative Tatsumaru Yamaoka, the son of ex-DPJ and current Life People's Life First bigshot Kenji Yamaoka who once infamously joked that was "a savage descended of Ainu blood."
Indeed, this race is full of symbolism and crossing fates.
|Photo by Toshiaki Sonoda|
Shimazaki is running on a platform of restoring Ainu rights as well as against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), nuclear power, and increased consumption tax.
She is currently the Deputy Director of Sapporo Branch of the Hokkaido Ainu Association and the Secretary General of the Sapporo Upopo Preservation Society.
News articles (in Japanese):
Wall Street Journal
(see our previous blog entry for more info regarding the Ainu Party)