Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on December 11th, 2006
Hello Blog. Friend Anthony Bianchi, after winning a seat in the Inuyama City Assembly with the highest number of votes in the city’s history, is now running for mayor. Very impressive indeed. Not only did he avoid getting burned out, or chewed up and spit out by Japanese politics, he’s going for the next step in the ladder! Power to him! I mention him briefly at
New York-born ex-city assemblyman runs for mayor in Aichi city
Japan Today/Kyodo News
Courtesy of Arturo at The Community
INUYAMA — A former local city assemblyman of New York origin and seven others officially filed their candidacy Sunday to run in a mayoral election in Inuyama in Aichi Prefecture slated for Dec 17.
In the race, voters will choose a successor to Yoshihiro Ishida, 61, who quit as city mayor after serving for more than 11 years to run in the prefecture’s gubernatorial election scheduled for next February.
If elected, Anthony Bianchi, a 48-year-old former Inuyama city assembly member originally from Brooklyn, New York, will be the first person born in the West to become a Japanese municipality head, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.
Bianchi has pledged to further promote education reforms and to ensure greater participation of citizens in municipal politics.
Bianchi and the seven others are all independent candidates. If no one garners at least one-fourth of total valid ballots cast on the day of the election, the city will hold a new election by late February, Inuyama city officials said.
The city known for Inuyama Castle, built in 1537 and a national treasure, has a population of about 75,000 and around 59,000 eligible voters.
The other candidates are former city assembly members Takuro Yamada, 33, and Kayoko Kawamura, 64; former prefectural assemblyman of the Liberal Democratic Party Yukinori Tanaka, 48; Keiko Murata, 65, backed by the Japanese Community Party; former McKinsey & Company consultant Taichi Sakabe, 35; former company executive Hideo Maeda, 53; and former company employee Iwao Inagaki, 63.
Bianchi, whose wife is Japanese, became a naturalized Japanese citizen in 2002 and won a seat in the Inuyama assembly in April 2003 with the largest number of ballots ever cast in the city assembly election of 3,302.
Speaking to supporters at his election office on Sunday morning, Bianchi said in Japanese, “This election is a turning point for Inuyama to move forward or step back. I want the city’s future to be in the hands of people, not of a few specific people” belonging to certain groups.
Bianchi has said that he is running as a completely independent candidate to provide “a legitimate alternative” to voters to meet the “real needs of people.”
As a foreign-born candidate, Bianchi said, “I don’t have the same kind of ‘shigarami’ (obligation or indebtedness). Maybe other people have it.” He also said his other strength is that people tolerate his behavior which is “a little bit more direct” than that of native-born Japanese.
But on the fact that he may become the first Westerner to govern a Japanese municipality, Bianchi said, “I don’t think that is such an important thing…It’s just a footnote.”
Bianchi said that if he becomes Inuyama mayor, he would be able to better promote the city abroad and increase the number of visitors to boost the tourism industry in Inuyama. (Kyodo News)