Ebisawa and co-chair Baba at a press conference on April 13. Baba leaked that he had approached her about running for the Osaka City Council in ’19, only a few days before the announcement.Each party is preparing high-profile candidates for the Tokyo electoral district in the summer Upper House election (scheduled to be held on July 10). The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has put up former volleyball player Kentaro Asahi (46) and actress Akiko Ikuina (53), while the First no Kai has its representative, Chiharu Araki (40). In the meantime, on April 13, the Japan Restoration Association decided to nominate Yuki Ebisawa, 48, an Osaka city councilor, as its official candidate. A reporter for a national newspaper said.“She’s a former professional snowboarder, and was a finalist in the ‘National Beauty Witch Contest’ in ’11. In 2012, she joined the Restoration Politics Academy and ran for Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and other offices, but was unsuccessful. In April 2007, she ran for the Osaka City Council and was elected for the first time, which she had longed for.”But she is now under suspicion. It is alleged that she did not actually reside in her constituency when she ran for the Osaka City Council. An official of the Osaka Restoration Association said, “She ran for the Osaka City Council.”
At Ebisawa’s runoff press conference on April 13, Nobuyuki Baba, 57, co-chairman of the Osaka Restoration Association, said, “Three years ago, when she ran for the Osaka City Council, she decided to run two or three days before the announcement date. I think it was an unintentional slip of the tongue, but it revealed the validity of her residence. Even after she was elected, she lived mostly in Tokyo,” he said, “and the cost of the bullet train (to Osaka) runs into the hundreds of thousands of yen a month.”
The Public Office Election Law stipulates that a person must “reside in the electoral district for at least three months” in order to be eligible for elective office. In a similar case, former Toda City Councilor Super Crazy Kun, 35, was invalidated for failing to meet this requirement. When we spoke to Ebisawa about this allegation, she responded as follows.
“As of the end of ’18, when it was decided to hold the Osaka City Council election in April ’19, I had moved to my parents’ house in Osaka City by myself, just in case.” Therefore, as explained by a party official, she has been living there for about four months, although she made the final decision to run for the city council only a few days ago.
However, when we spoke to residents around her parents’ house, they said, “This is only her parents’ house. She once came back when she got divorced, but she has been living in Tokyo since she remarried and had a child,”
When we approached Ebisawa’s mother in front of her parents’ house and told her our business, her expression changed and she hurriedly entered the house, saying, “I have [Ebisawa’s] certificate of residence over here,” and repeatedly saying, “I am busy,” and “I am sorry.”
There are other doubts about her background. In her profile on her website, she states that she was the “1997 Japan Snowboard Cross Champion”. “Snowboard Cross” is a competition in which multiple riders ski down the same course at the same time and compete to place first. However, a representative of the Japan Snowboard Association said, “She is indeed registered as a professional.”
“Although she is registered as a professional, the record she holds as the Japanese champion is not an official record of the association. At that time, only the halfpipe was recognized in snowboarding, and the boardercross (the name of snowboard cross at that time) was not recognized until the ’99-’00 season.”
Ebisawa responded, “At the time, (the competition she won) was the only competition for boardercross, so I thought that if you win there, you are the Japanese champion.” she said.
Hiroshi Kamiwaki, professor of law at Kobe Gakuin University’s Faculty of Law, spoke about the case.
“It is not enough to simply transfer the certificate of residence; there must be an actual state of residence. If there was no actual residence, then the election would be ‘null and void,’ just as in the case of Super Crazy Kun.”
“Regarding the Snowboard Champion, her published career record shows that she wrote ‘professional certification’ and in the next line she wrote ‘Japanese Champion’. This is misleading, as if it were an official record, and may violate Article 235 of the Public Offices Election Law.”
Ebisawa later explained the matter on his website, but there it was not certain if the voters were convinced.