Eriko Imai won re-election to the House of Councillors in the election held on July 10. It was after 6:00 a.m. on July 11, when it was well past the light of day, that Imai, on crutches and supported by her son Reimu, a professional wrestler, came out of her office. Behind them was a relieved-looking Ken Hashimoto, 42, a former member of the Kobe City Council, who had reportedly had an affair with Imai on the bullet train in July 2017.
Imai and Hashimoto were seen off by supporters and sat side by side in the backseat of the car. When they were called out, “Congratulations on your election!”, Imai and Hashimoto sat side by side in the backseat of the pickup truck, with their supporters looking on and saying, “Congratulations on your election!”
Two hours later, Mr. Imai updated his Twitter page with the following message.
My son, Reimu, and his partner, Mr. Hashimoto, helped me with housework and the election, including assisting me. I think it was harder than for me. I can’t thank them enough. Thanks to both of them, I was able to get through it, and they saved me in many ways.”
He clearly stated that he and Hashimoto were partners and expressed his gratitude. A reporter from the political section of a national newspaper said.
Hashimoto was helping Imai’s campaign throughout the campaign and was caught on numerous occasions. It is reported that they will enter the family register in September this year. Originally, they had planned to report their marriage when they managed to get reelected in this Upper House election and to thank him for his help. Since they were successfully reelected, they may have used the word ‘partner’ in a dignified manner.
When this magazine directly interviewed the two when it reported in June that they would be enrolling in the registry in September, neither Imai nor Hashimoto uttered a single word. However, with their recent reelection, the hurdle to “joining the family” has been removed. She was probably smiling a big smile, which included the fact that she had just been re-elected.
With her reelection, she will once again serve a six-year term. If she serves a second term in the Upper House, there is a possibility that she will become a vice minister. Even so, she has been criticized within the party for her lack of any significant achievements. However, even during this election campaign, in her speeches on the streets, she still talks about her days in show business, asking, “Are there any of you from the SPEED generation here? and still talking only about her days in the entertainment industry. I hope she understands the importance of her reelection,” said an LDP insider.
Will we see this big smile again when she completes her big task?
Photo by： Takeshi Kinugawa