Japan Lower House election – Meet the candidates Part 3: Shuji Watanabe (69) JCP

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.



Yasunobu Watanabe