Tokyo assembly election: Meet the candidates (Part 8 of 10) – Mitsuhisa Asako (Independent)

The last post completed our look at the most credible candidates in this election. The remaining three candidates are considered relative long shots, but they still deserve our attention. First among these minor candidates is Mitsuhisa Asako (39), a former Adachi-ku city assemblyman looking to get back into political office.

From Tokyo Prefectural Assembly Election

Career: This self-described “samurai” was born and raised in Adachi-ku, close to this Don Quixote discount store. After dropping out of Komazawa University, in 1995 he became the “nation’s youngest” city assemblyman at age 25.

He served three terms in Adachi but then left in 2007 for complicated reasons. After LDP prefectural assemblywoman Yayoi Kondo was elected Adachi-ku mayor in 2007, Asako campaigned for LDP backing in the election to replace her, only to lose to Masatsugu Mihara, a more experienced politician who had lost his bid for re-election to the prefectural assembly in 2005. Not to be discouraged, Asako decided to run anyway under a one-man party “Vibrant Prefectural Politics” (活きる都政). This move turned out to be a costly gamble as Mihara won in a landslide while Asako came in dead last (PDF).

Chances of winning: Basically Asako is seen as a long shot. He had LDP backing during his three terms in the Adachi-ku assembly, but he has been out of office for two years and thus enjoys no official party backing or any voter base to speak of.

According to the Sankei, his strategy is to go after political rival Masatsugu Mihara by wooing away hi’s base of voters who supported Mayor Yayoi Kondo. To that end, Asako has placed a former secretary to Kondo on his campaign staff.

It’s unclear how well this strategy will work since Kondo has come out strongly in support of Mihara, going so far as to appear in posters shaking hands with the incumbent. But as I noted, Mihara is the one candidate who gives the impression of not really giving a crap, so maybe Asako will be satisfied if he can woo just enough voters to kick Mihara to 7th place and thus out of office.

Policy: He is running as a “conservative independent” (保守系無所属) affiliated with lower house LDP Diet member Takeo Hiranuma, who is well-known for voting against postal privatization in 2005, leading to his temporary purging from the party (Update: actually Hiranuma is the only postal dissenter who survived purging but did not return to the LDP). Hiranuma is also known for his conservative stances: he is an active campaigner against “anti-Japan events” such as exhibits depicting the Nanjing Massacre, and in 2006 argued against allowing a female to become emperor on the grounds that she could marry a “blue-eyed foreigner.”

In a JANJAN video, Asako can be seen advocating expanded credit lines to small businesses, employment protection, and the by-now-perfunctory child-rearing subsidies and other welfare programs.

On his website he claims that he was the one in 1998 who initially proposed the Harukaze community bus system that runs through Adachi-ku. He is proud to note that the project is completely financed by the private sector and thus uses no taxpayer money.

Something interesting: Roll your mouse over Asako’s profile picture to see him in his matsuri costume:

Also, here’s a picture of him making the peace sign during a radio appearance: