Huge controversy over junior high school 3rd grade English speaking test! Behind the Scenes of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s “Zoukei Disposition”.
The “Tomin First no Kai” (“Tomin First Association”), for which Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike serves as a special advisor, is experiencing a major shakeup. The group has been hit by an unprecedented situation in which the expulsion of one of its members and the resignation of its representative have occurred at the same time.
The immediate expulsion was not expected. The expulsion initiated by the unqualified representative is not right. I call for its withdrawal.”
On October 13, the three council members who were expelled from TMIFA held a press conference to “demand the invalidation and withdrawal of the expulsion. The three members who appeared were Hitomi Kiriyama (52, Nishitokyo City), Ikuko Tanoue (52, Edogawa Ward), and Daijiro Yonekawa (54, Katsushika Ward), all Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly members. The written defense included harsh words for Tomin First Party representative Chiharu Araki (40), such as “Chiharu Araki is not a representative of Tomin First Party,” “A new representative should be appointed and the party’s executive committee renewed,” and “He must not be allowed to stay on. What exactly happened?
It all began with a contentious debate in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly over whether or not to add the results of a private English speaking test to the entrance examinations for Tokyo public high schools for current third-year junior high school students. The Liberal Democratic Party of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and the New Komeito Party of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly were in favor of the addition of the test. The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly’s LDP and Komeito were in favor of the addition of the test results.
In contrast, the Democratic Party of Constitutional Democrats and the Tokyo Restoration Association opposed the proposal, and submitted a draft ordinance at the October 7 plenary session to prevent the speaking test results from being added to the evaluation of entrance examinations. Three Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly members voted in favor of this ordinance.
As a result of their failure to follow the party’s policy, the three were expelled from TMGFA, and the press conference mentioned at the beginning of this article was held to dispute this decision. He strongly criticized Representative Araki for forcibly deciding to expel them, saying, “He is not qualified to be a representative! and called for the invalidation of the expulsion, which was initiated by the unqualified representatives.
Although this is a dispute over policy, the reality is that it is a political situation within the TMG factions, and the accumulated anger of the members who were dissatisfied with Mr. Araki’s tight control of the party has exploded. Beginning with the Tsukiji relocation issue, Toshiro Kojima, who was initially treated well as secretary general, gradually began to intervene not only in policy proposals but also in party management. This created a distance between him and Mr. Araki, who felt uncomfortable, and as a result of the cold treatment, he was effectively removed from his position. Those who had doubts about this are now viewing the speaking test incident as a coup d’etat-like act of rebellion.
Mr. Araki ran for the Tokyo electoral district in the Upper House election this past July, but was unsuccessful, coming in tenth place. Despite the fact that Governor Koike ran around Tokyo with him, he received only half the number of votes of Reiwa Shinselected Representative Taro Yamamoto, and he was not even close to independent candidate Yokomasa Ototake. The fact that he operated in a constrictive manner without reviewing his responsibility for this situation led to the current uproar of “How long are you going to keep your representative’s face on?
It appears that the “anti-Araki faction” is solidly united. After the plenary session on April 7, the day of the “rebellion,” this magazine caught seven members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, including Kiriyama, who voted against the bill, and others surrounding Kojima at a tavern near Yotsuya Station, where they shared a “pep talk” dinner.
According to the testimony of a customer who was present, Kiriyama was wearing a deep green shirt and was complaining while eating tempura and gunkanmaki.
It’s not about speaking,” he said.
It’s the executive board that pisses me off.”
As if in response to these complaints, some of the participants said they wanted to do something before the end of the year and that the timing was right now.
The six men and women in attendance nodded their heads one after another. Tanoue was absent from the meeting to take care of his child, but two other members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, Masahiro Hosaka (48, Taito Ward) and Ai Mori (45, Ota Ward), were also in attendance. They were named as co-sponsors of the ordinance and were on the verge of getting on board, but they were absent from the plenary session of the 7th due to “poor health” and did not cast a vote, yet somehow showed a voracious appetite at this dinner party, according to some testimonies.
The six, including Motonari Kimura, a former member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly who is said to be the “organizer of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly,” were said to have been in great spirits and engaged in a “talk critical of the executive branch.
When asked about the purpose of the meeting at the press conference held on January 13, Kiriyama admitted that “I think anger, frustration, and suppressed feelings came out,” and “there were times when I complained,” but he added, “I did not plan anything with Kojima-san. I am also a parent of a third grader, and I am speaking up because the speaking test is not equal. （I have no intention of causing confusion (in Congress or the party).
Perhaps as a result of this “objection press conference,” Mr. Araki resigned from his position as party president on January 17, immediately after the press conference. His ostensible reason was to “take responsibility for his failure to win the Upper House election,” but there is no doubt that the latest defection had an impact on his decision.
For the three who had criticized Mr. Araki’s “sitting out” of the House of Representatives, this resignation of the representative may be a good thing. However, one wonders how the voters will view such an uproar just before the English speaking test is scheduled to be held in late November.
From the very beginning, the “Tomin First Association” was always said to be “just a slogan, with no clear vision of what it wants to do. Will this latest slapstick affair be the beginning of a change?
Interview and text by： Daisuke Iwasaki