Tearful Voice Screaming: Former Prime Minister Abe’s use in election by LDP in the Upper house is Uncomfortable | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Tearful Voice Screaming: Former Prime Minister Abe’s use in election by LDP in the Upper house is Uncomfortable

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Mika Matsuno campaigning with a mourning badge on July 9.

Ginza was enveloped in a strange atmosphere on the final day of the 18-day election campaign.

In front of Itocia, not far from Yurakucho Station, LDP incumbent Kentaro Asahi, 46, said on July 9, “Former Prime Minister Abe has passed away. I can’t hide my upset. I am speechless,” he said, slumping down with tears in his eyes. The audience cheered for him, saying, “Don’t lose! and “Hang in there!

It is well known that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed during a speech in Nara City on July 8.

Before the start of the speech, there was a moment of silence observed. Campaign staff members wore black mourning badges on their arms and chests and handed out fan-shaped policy leaflets. Among them was Mika Matsuno, 26, winner of the “Miss Japan Contest 2016” Grand Prix and whose father is former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yorihisa Matsuno. She is said to be working as a staff member of the Asahi campaign in this election. She also had a black mourning badge on her left arm. 

 I was handing out leaflets at the north exit of JR Akikawa Station that day. While I was handing out flyers, I was asked, Is Mr. Abe all right?I didn’t know what he was talking about, so I searched on my phone and was surprised. I still can’t believe it. When candidates get out of their town cars, I try to be careful by going behind them.”

At the Ginza 4-Chome intersection, 700 meters away, was the TV personality Akiko Usuina, 54, a former member of the idol group Onyanko Club. Although pink was her image color, she was wearing a white polo shirt and a black arm guard as she made this appeal: 

Yesterday, former Prime Minister Abe was killed by a bullet. Can we allow such barbaric acts to continue? Can we allow such an act that shakes the very foundation of democracy? I will never allow it.

The audience gathered at the Ginza 4-Chome intersection cheered like a swell. Here, too, campaign staff wore black mourning badges and handed out fan-shaped policy leaflets, which were dispersed one after another, causing shoppers to stop in their tracks. Mr. Ikura recounted how former Prime Minister Abe was scheduled to come to the final day of the campaign to support him in his speech, and he shared a memory.

“When I told Mr. Abe that I was not good at giving speeches, he said, “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. I was bad at it when I started.” I will never forget his kind smile when he encouraged me.”

Perhaps remembering Mr. Abe before his death, he continued in a tearful voice.

“We are going to inherit the Japan that former Prime Minister Abe aimed for. We must win this campaign to do so. Please send me to the Diet.”

Akiko Ikuina campaigning in Ginza on the last day of the campaign

When she made this appeal, she received loud applause and cheers. Yasumasa Matsuda, a Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member in charge of distributing leaflets, said, “I was very pleased with the turnout.”

The scenery has changed. When I was handing out leaflets, voters encouraged me by saying, Do your best for Mr. Abe, and Do your best for Mr. Abe, too. This is the first time I have received such support from strangers. I had a sense of crisis because the polls had shown that Ikuina had dropped in the rankings, but I feel that I am getting a good response.

Both Mr. Asahi and Mr. Ikuina will be in the six slots in the Tokyo electoral district for the House of Councillors. During the campaign of the day, Mr. Abe was treated like a “legendary politician. However, there are some aspects of the incident, such as the circumstances and the motive for the crime, that are not clearly known. There is no doubt that this crime is absolutely unforgivable. However, the LDP’s approach on that day seemed to be to give Mr. Abe too much credit and “use” him in the election campaign. Is this also the fate of politicians?

  • Interview and text by Daisuke Iwasaki

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