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Homeless man runs for Tokyo Governor

Hiroshi Komiyama, the homeless candidate running for governor of Tokyo. (ANJ Photo)
Hiroshi Komiyama, the homeless candidate running for governor of Tokyo. (ANJ Photo)
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21 Jun 2020 09:06:44 GMT9
21 Jun 2020 09:06:44 GMT9

Arab News Japan

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TOKYO: The official campaign period for the July 5 Tokyo gubernatorial election began on June 18, pitting incumbent Governor Yuriko Koike against 21 other candidates.

The two topics that are high on the agenda during the 17-day campaign period are the responses to the novel coronavirus outbreak and whether the Japanese capital should host the Tokyo Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were postponed by one year (to 2021) due to the pandemic.

Perched on top of a van parked in front of Shinbashi station, a man dressed in traditional Japanese clothing talks about his life story.

Hiroshi Komiyama is a candidate in the Tokyo gubernatorial election, running for governor of Tokyo. Unemployed, his daily job is picking up cigarette butts near the smoking area at Shinbashi Station, as well as collecting beverage cans left on the ground by office workers. 

Mr. Komiyama is the former owner of restaurants in Fukuoka City in western Japan and a former manager in insurance companies. But after suffering the loss of his partner to cancer, he became an alcoholic.

Mr. Komiyama’s political efforts allow him to feel useful to the community and regain his lost pride. While repeating his story on a microphone in front of people passing by, tears would spontaneously run down his face.

Dozens of supporters came to listen and cheer him on, while a group of volunteers distributed leaflets.

The leaflets promoted social programs for the most vulnerable populations affected by the COVID-19 crisis, such as establishing a basic income for citizens until a vaccine is made available. 

Other policies on the agenda included financial measures to support fertility, upgrading nurses’ salaries and increase holidays. Some policies were more directly related to the trials of the homeless, such as more counseling centers aimed to prevent suicide as well as fines for people who toss their cigarettes on the ground and litter. 

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