Actor-turned-politician Taro Yamamoto aims for real-life starring role as future Japan PM
Japan Times -- Aug 01
Actor-turned-politician Taro Yamamoto is angling for a new real-life role in which he leads his novice party and allies to victory, ousts long-ruling conservatives and takes over as prime minister within the next few years.

Whether or not he can achieve that ambitious target, Yamamoto says his tiny Reiwa Shinsengumi party — which elected two disabled candidates to the Upper House of the Diet this month — is already having an impact. “Our two lawmakers have not entered parliament yet, but already they are making (the chamber) barrier-free,” he said in an interview. “Even if we are smaller than the number two opposition party, I think we can have a big impact.”

Political experts agree that Reiwa — named after the new imperial era that began in May — can have an impact on policies and attitudes, such as those in relation to people with disabilities. But achieving the longer-term goal would be a long-shot, and might require merging with other groups.

Reiwa was set up three months before the July 21 Upper House vote. It joined a fragmented opposition camp, with a platform heavy on policies aimed at those who remain socially marginalized and economically struggling despite almost seven years of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Abenomics policies to revive growth.

The group’s use of social media and the T-shirt clad Yamamoto’s charismatic stump speeches won him the largest number of votes of any single candidate in the proportional representation part of the election. A priority candidate system propelled the two disabled people to victory even though Yamamoto lost his own seat.

Yamamoto, 44, now plans to run 100 candidates — including himself — in a Lower House election that must be held before late 2021 and is likely, he says, to come within a year. “I’m saying I’m going to take power, so first I have to run for the Lower House,” he said, adding that he wanted to be prime minister but wouldn’t insist if someone else could do the job.

News source: Japan Times
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