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
Aug 16
Japan's new emperor spoke Thursday (Aug 15) of "deep remorse" over the country's wartime past, in his first speech to commemorate the end of World War II since his enthronement in May. (channelnewsasia.com)
Aug 16
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has skipped a visit to the controversial Yasukuni shrine for war dead, but sent a ritual offering on the 74th anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender, a gesture likely to be criticised by Asian neighbours. (aljazeera.com)
Aug 12
South Korea says it plans to remove Japan from its top-tier list of countries subject to preferential export procedures. (NHK)
Aug 10
Japan's Air Self-Defense Force concludes that a fighter pilot who crashed off northern Japan in April failed to detect the jet's rapid descent because he was disoriented. (NHK)
Aug 09
Japan has approved the shipment of a hi-tech material to South Korea for the first time since enforcing stricter export controls. (NHK)
Aug 08
Wedding preparations are underway for Lower House member Shinjiro Koizumi, 38, a prominent politician who is widely seen as a potential future prime minister, and TV personality Christel Takigawa, 41. (Japan Times)
Aug 07
South Korea has condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for remarks that echoed his country's stance of urging Seoul to follow through on a post-war bilateral agreement. (NHK)
Aug 06
South Korea's Joint Chief of Staff says North Korea has fired two projectiles early on Tuesday morning. (NHK)
Aug 04
Tensions between two Asian neighbors are increasing following Japan's decision to remove South Korea from its list of trading partners eligible for preferential export procedures. (NHK)
Aug 02
With two months to go before the consumption tax hike, the government released a document Thursday spelling out cases regarding food and drinks purchased at theme parks, saying they will be taxed at 10 percent if consumed at tables, but 8 percent if consumed while walking. (Japan Today)