AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Sononmanma update

Posted by ampontan on Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WE’VE BEEN FOLLOWING the political career of Higashikokubaru Hideo, the former comedian known as Sonomanma Higashi who changed his way of living and became the populist (and popular) governor of rural Miyazaki in southwestern Japan. (This article sums up all the posts here so far.)

Despite being in office for little more than 18 months, speculation is mounting that the governor is aiming for a career in national politics. The governor’s comments about his career plans have been guarded, but have not been sufficient to quell the suspicions. His regularly scheduled press conference on Tuesday kept the story alive.

Japanese reporters are nothing if not tenacious, and they asked him about his intentions yet again. He answered, “At the present time, I do not plan to be active in the next lower house election, including supporting anyone else.”

He also said that if the operation of the prefectural administration for a four-year term could be likened to a marathon, the four years corresponded to the 42 kilometer-distance, and the last year represents the finish. He added that he has never dropped out of a marathon partway through, and that history won’t change.

Perhaps the most intriguing glimpse of how the governor sees his future came this May during a meeting of Miyazaki LDP support groups. He said:

If there is no reform in the next five years in which the national government devolves authority to the regions, I will turn this country upside down.

Since the opposition Democratic Party of Japan has been rather cool toward the entire subject of devolution, Mr. Higashikokubaru may well get a chance to make good on his threat if the DPJ forms a government in the meantime.

One Response to “Sononmanma update”

  1. Matt said

    What interests me most about this guy is his weirdly urgent and hands-on marketeering. Most recent example: the Sonomanma Curry-Pan. (I tried one. Not bad, but overpriced.)

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