Former Kobe City Councilor Ken Hashimoto Attends Eriko Imai’s National Policy Briefing
As a photographer, I took many shutterbugs and ......
As little kids from a local dance club danced to a Disney song, a wheelchair-bound woman in the front row clapped her shoulders in rhythm and gave a shout-out with loud applause.
On June 4, “Eriko Imai National Policy Briefing” was held in Asaka City, Saitama Prefecture. The innovative national policy debriefing session, which began with a dance, was probably an idea unique to former “SPEED” Upper House Representative Eriko Imai (38). Imai fell from a bull at a bullfighting festival in Tokunoshima, Kagoshima, during the Golden Week holidays and broke her pelvis. On the day of the event, he held the microphone in his wheelchair and began with a unique “local talk.
He began his talk with a unique “local talk. It was the opening night of the arena, and I had the opportunity to play the lead role in Yukio Ninagawa’s musical “The Firebird. Saitama is close to Tokyo, and Asaka City is a short drive away. I hear that it is rich in nature and easy to raise children. Today I would like to talk about my activities as a councilor for the past six years.”
After his greeting, he began his talk in the form of a dialogue with Mr. Yasushi Hosaka, a member of the House of Representatives from Saitama’s 4th district and a member of the Liberal Democratic Party. Mr. Hosaka said, “I debuted with SPEED when I was a whopping 12 years old. And suddenly I was a top star,” he said, referring to his entertainment career and asking about his impressions at the time.
Hosaka replied, “I went to school, too, and I was so busy balancing school and work that I don’t remember. We couldn’t go on field trips or school trips, and the four of us in SPEED have no memories of our youth. But I have been working since I was 12 years old and went abroad. I think my horizons were broadened by being exposed to the air of other countries. I learned a lot.”
Hosaka mentioned several musicians of the time and asked if they had any rivals, to which Imai replied, “We were like my way of life.
The four of us decided that our rival was ourselves. I went to the Okinawa Actors School from the second grade of elementary school to become a singer, and I am good friends with MAX, DA PUMP, and Daichi Miura. I guess in order to make your dreams come true, you have to never give up. There are a lot of hardships when you keep pursuing your dream, but you do your best to overcome them. I believe that nothing is impossible for human beings. My son has an audiovisual impairment, but he is now active as a professional wrestler. But when he started training, I heard him say, ‘I can’t do it because I can’t hear. When I was a child, I was athletically inept and received a ‘△’ on my physical education report card. When I sent him to a gym where he could fitness in a wrestling ring, I found that what he liked to do stretched people. His PE grade became ‘◎’. ‘ Instead of giving up from the beginning, we worked together to figure out how he could do it.”
It is an inspiring story, but as Mr. Imai himself stated, is this not a national political debriefing? It is essentially an opportunity for him to tell his constituents about his activities as a member of the Diet for the past six years. Perhaps unable to see it, Mr. Hosaka cited the “telephone relay service,” introduced as a public service in July 2009, as a specific policy. Mr. Imai continued, “I hear why this was created.
The reason why this service was created is that people who cannot hear or speak cannot make emergency calls. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so that lives can be saved.
Mr. Imai then spoke about his time as Parliamentary Secretary of the Cabinet Office.
I visited the disaster-stricken areas many times with Minister Ryota Takeda. I heard from many people about what kind of support was needed, how evacuation centers should be run, and what kind of problems they were having. I heard from women who had been affected by the disaster that they had problems unique to women, such as, “Ms. Imai, I can’t tell men what I want, but I need this and that,” and they added this to the push-type support. In addition, illustrations were placed at evacuation centers so that people with hearing disabilities could understand not only audio information, such as “You can take a bath,” but also visual information.
No specific examples of how Mr. Imai was actually involved and how he changed the system were given. When asked about his impressions of the dance at the beginning of the session, Mr. Imai was able to respond with current topics such as, “In Okinawan, it means ‘chimu dondondon,’ which means ‘my heart was excited.
Politics cannot be done alone. Politics cannot be done by a single person. I will move forward one by one with the understanding of many people, including Mr. Hosaka. I want to cherish my gratitude to people.
Politics cannot be done alone. As if to illustrate Imai’s words, former Kobe City Councilor Ken Hashimoto, who was reported to have had a “Shinkansen hand-in-hand affair” with Imai in 2005, was also in the audience. The affair led to his resignation from the city council on suspicion of applying for political activity expenses for fictitious orders to a printing company. This magazine has reported on the two living together at Imai’s home. In a direct interview with the magazine, Mr. Imai said, “We have a good relationship. I am very grateful for the help he gives me in taking my son to and from school, etc.” “Mr. Imai said, ‘I am very grateful to you.
Mr. Imai said, “He is the first person I have ever had a relationship with who didn’t hit me. He is also smart.’ He is in love with the mild-mannered and intelligent Mr. Hashimoto,” said an acquaintance of Mr. Imai.
Hashimoto was also present at the opening of Imai’s office in Ginza on June 1, and some criticized him, saying that he should explain his relationship with Hashimoto. He was present at this national policy briefing as a cameraman and repeatedly snapped his shutter.
When we directly confronted Mr. Hashimoto, he replied, “Today is not a good day for interviews. I can’t answer your questions.
Will Hashimoto’s support and the unique national policy debriefing session decide his election to a second term?
Photo by： Takeshi Kinugawa (Mr. Hashimoto)