Profile: Watanabe is a former Adachi-ku assemblyman running on the JCP ticket. At 69, Watanabe is liver-spotted and somewhat frail-looking when campaigning. He is an old school communist – he never went to college but instead joined the party in 1960 after finishing technical school. Three years after graduation he began working as a sanitary inspector at a clinic for the poor, where he was an active unionist who pushed for improved benefits for workers. He entered electoral politics in 1971 and won a seat on the Adachi-ku assembly, where he has won re-election nine times (I assume consecutively). He has apparently retired from the assembly to run in this election.
Chances of winning: I don’t think he expects to win. True to the JCP’s commitment to being a vocal minority party, I think the point of him being there is to try and direct the debate in favor of the JCP’s policy platform. He doesn’t even have his own real website, so I kind of doubt the party’s commitment.
Policy: Watanabe is running on a typical JCP line of protecting employment. See my earlier post on the JCP to see why I find them unacceptable.
Something interesting: I can’t say for sure, but something tells me this guy is related to Yasunobu Watanabe, the Tokyo Prefectural Assemblyman who handed his seat to JCP candidate Yoshie Oshima in July.