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JAPANESE CONNECTION ‘Yogi’ becomes first Indian to win an election in Japan

April 24, 2019 05:53 AM


‘Yogi’ becomes first Indian to win an election in Japan

A 41-year-old Indianorigin Japanese, who goes by the nickname ‘Yogi’, has been elected to Tokyo’s Edogawa ward polls—the first Indian to win an election in Japan. A naturalised Japanese, Puranik Yogendra won the April 21 polls, part of unified local elections held across Japan, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

“I want to be a bridge between Japanese and foreigners,” said Yogi, who is backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

Edogawa has the highest number of Indian residents (4,300) among Tokyo’s 23 wards, accounting for more than 10% of 34,000 Indians living in the country.

“This is the first-ever victory of a naturalised Japanese of Indian origin in elections in Japan. This is also a recognition of contributions made by Indians towards the Japanese society,” Shamshad Khan, author of ‘Changing Dynamics of India-Japan Relations’, said.

Yogi came to Japan in 1999 to study and started working as an engineer two years later. He worked in a bank, and has lived in Edogawa since 2005.

Yogendra acquired Japanese nationality in 2012 and started pursuing a career in politics. “I felt the time had come for me to become Japanese,” he said. “I want to be an assemblyman (elected local body representative) who can connect everyone regardless of nationality, age or even disabilities, through my 20 years of living in Japan,” Yogi added.

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