Ms. Ikuina making a street speech in Ginza on July 9 (Photo by Daisuke Iwasaki)On July 9, the last day of the election campaign, Ms. Ikuina was at the Ginza 4-chome intersection. Although pink was her image color, she was wearing a white polo shirt and a black arm guard as she made the following 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 campaign staff also wore black mourning badges and handed out fan-shaped policy leaflets, which were dispersed one after another, causing shoppers to stop in their tracks. Ms. Ikuina told the crowd that former Prime Minister Abe was scheduled to attend her final day’s speech to cheer her on, and she shared a memory.
“When I told Abe that I was not good at giving speeches, he said, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. I was not good at it when I started, either.’ I will never forget his kind smile when he encouraged me.”
Perhaps remembering Mr. Abe before his death, she 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.”
A former reporter said,
“During the election campaign, the election campaign team became increasingly concerned about the fact that the number of voters in Nouriya was not growing as much as expected according to the situation survey. They discussed what should be done to capture the independents, and they suggested that she should team up with Eriko Imai. When the two appeared in front of Asakusa’s Kaminarimon Gate on June 26, they drew an audience of about 2,000 people, and the campaign seemed to have gotten a good response. Even so, however, Ms. Ikuina was by no means a safe bet. Her repeated references to former Prime Minister Abe toward the end of the campaign were a sign of her sense of urgency.”
This worked, and Ms. Ikuina was elected for the first time.
Despite the “time limit,” as Mr. Ikegami puts it, explaining the situation to the voters is the foremost duty and responsibility of a politician. From now on, Ms. Ikuina will serve a six-year term and be paid a large sum of money. I wonder if she understands the significance of this.