Arab News Japan
TOKYO: Sultan Nur, a 49-year-old Japanese Egyptian car dealer, was elected in a by-election in Shonai Town, Yamagata Prefecture. According to the Prefectural Election Commission, this is the first time a foreigner has been elected to a prefectural assembly.
Sultan quoted by local media as saying in Japanese, language, “I want to boost the local economy by utilizing foreign human resources. We will listen to the opinions of the residents and work together to build the city.”
Sultan reportedly came to Japan in 2001 and worked as a swimming instructor in Tsuruoka City, where he acquired Japanese citizenship in 2013. He moved to Shonai-cho in 2016 and is currently working there.
Living in the town, he told local media he felt that there were many shortcomings in the children’s medical system and sports environment. Three days before the announcement, he decided to run for office, saying, “Now is the time.”
He toured the town during his campaign to appeal for support. “I was happy to hear that the farmers told me to do my best. We want to make it a town where young people can work locally and elderly people can also easily work.”
Former town council chairman Toru Tomikashi (58), who was elected mayor for the first time in the same election, said, “We will create an opportunity for enthusiastic townspeople to raise their hands and run for office in June next year.”
The election of the first Muslim with Arab origin to a local town council has cought to the attention of the Japanese media and political circles. City councils in Japan are involved in domestic affairs in administration and financial affairs. They are not involved in national politics including defense and diplomacy.