We're nearing the end of the candidate profiles. Today we look at Akio Shimizu of the Japanese Communist Party.Back Story
Akio Shimizu is a 58 year old Communist Party official, and he has been for at least 15 years. He is the party's district head of this region. He at one time was an official of the Democratic Youth League of Japan, the JCP's youth wing. He dropped out of Waseda University at some point in his life. He is the only candidate running in the 19th not to reside in the district. This will be the second time Shimizu has run in this district under the Communist banner, the previous time he came a distant third (out of three candidates) in the 2005 Lower House elections. If Shimizu's profile seems very dry and halting it is because unlike the other candidates (Saeko Takahashi excepted), Shimizu does not have an independent web presence and does not provide any sort of a personal timeline. This back story is composed of a number of nuggets I've managed to cobble together for various sources.Politics
Like Ishida, Shimizu's platform and campaign are indistinguishable from the party's platform and campaign. So I'll be talking about the JCP more than Shimizu in this section. If you're a fan of revolutionary "take down the capitalist overlords by any means" communism, the Japanese Communist Party is probably not for you. In fact looking through the party's policies and actions it seems that the JCP is closer to a Democratic Socialist-type party in any other country. The JCP has been an unwavering voice of the left in Japanese politics and garners votes that would have gone to the old Japan Socialist Party. The four promises made on Shimizu's posters are 1) the prevention of the destruction of the employment system, 2) free health care for people 75 years and older, 3) opposing raising the consumption tax, and 4) the abolition of nuclear weapons. While the communist label gives the party a ideology to stand behind and not waver for political opportunism, but it's rhetoric is not one in which the state or other opposition parties should disappear. Incidents by groups like the Japanese Red Army, and the United Red Army, and the pre-war history of the party, have tainted the image of communism and "red" politics, and some may doubt the JCP's sincerity should it ever achieve real power. Campaign
It's probably because I live in a communist stronghold, but I notice that the JCP has many different posters that appeal to specific issues. The main focus of this campaign seems to be people/citizen centric solutions, as opposed to corporate ones. I have not seen Shimizu himself on the campaign trail, but I can only assume he is out there and plugging away the JCP manifesto.Chances
Shimizu will not win a seat, but I believe he will come in third with a fairly sizable margin between him and the fourth place finisher. I also assume the JCP will probably get a few votes on the PR vote from this district. The JCP has not faired particularly well in recent elections, and there's no reason to believe that there is a great Communist resurgence going on in Japan, despite some Western media reports
Akio Ishida may be a JCP drone, but he's my kind of drone. I wish there was more to say, but there is very little information available about this man.