JAPAN’S NEWEST POLITICIANS ARE YOUNG, DIVERSE AND ONLINE
Japan’s youth are taking their place in the government as the country’s by-elections have seen a number of young and diverse politicians rise to the national spotlight. This change is welcomed by supporters of the country who are tired of seeing the government mostly run by conservative older men. Japan’s parliament is mostly comprised of males aged 50 to 70, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and this new wave of young politicians is a refreshing shift for Japan’s political scene.
RYOSUKE TAKASHIMA: JAPAN’S YOUNGEST-EVER MAYOR
Ryosuke Takashima, at just 26 years old, is Japan’s youngest-ever mayor, having graduated last year from Harvard University with a degree in environmental engineering. In his campaign, Takashima focused on green infrastructure planning, promising to create more public spaces and parks, as well as reforms in education, childcare, and youth healthcare. He hopes that his youth will bring a fresh and relatable perspective to politics, and that he can use this to better serve his constituents.
SHIN THE HIRATSUKA YOUTUBER: A NEW VOICE FOR CHILDCARE ISSUES
Shin the Hiratsuka YouTuber, a 26-year-old Pokémon card store owner, won his campaign for Hiratsuka City Council under his online moniker. Shin’s campaign platform centered around issues of childcare, work-life balance, and support for the elderly. As a single father, Shin became interested in these issues through conversations with local business owners and hopes to represent the young people of Hiratsuka with a fresh perspective.
AYAKA NASUNO: FIGHTING BULLYING AND BUILDING COMMUNITY
After being bullied as a child, 25-year-old Ayaka Nasuno decided to « create her own community » by organizing a local trash cleanup effort. Through this work, Nasuno began working with constituents and local resources, which led her to run for Kawasaki City Council. She hopes to benefit her hometown with her position and work towards building inclusive and supportive communities.
ARFIYA ERI: THE FIRST WOMAN OF UYGHUR DESCENT ELECTED TO A PARLIAMENT
34-year-old Arfiya Eri is the first woman of Uyghur descent to be elected to any parliament in the world, after winning her seat in Japan’s Lower House. Eri advocates for greater women’s rights and gender equality and brings a unique perspective to Japan’s highly homogenous government. Her election is also significant for the Uyghur Japanese community and the global Uyghur diaspora, with whom she stands in solidarity against China’s human rights abuses.
JAPAN’S YOUNG POLITICIANS BRING NEW HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
These young and diverse politicians represent a shift towards a more relatable and inclusive government in Japan. Their fresh perspectives on issues like childcare, environmentalism, and gender equality provide hope for a better future. As the country’s working population shrinks and the population ages, these new voices may hold the key to a more vibrant and forward-thinking Japan.
– CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/29/asia/japan-young-politicians-intl-hnk-dst/index.html
– Inter-Parliamentary Union: https://www.ipu.org/resources/publications/infographics/2020-04/age-and-gender-distribution-parliaments-worldwide
– World Uyghur Congress: https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/japans-first-female-mp-of-uyghur-heritage-hopes-to-be-voice-for-rights-and-diversity/