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Kozo's Thoughts
Random, Weird, and 100% 石黒光司
Reppin' the Tokyo 1-9!!! Part 6: Yoshinori Suematsu (DPJ), the OTHER incumbent 
Saturday August 29th, 2009 15:59
Ohta Kouzou
The last candidate covered in this ongoing series is Yoshinori Suematsu, of the Democratic Party of Japan. He is also an incumbent in this race, because while he lost the district last election, he got in as a PR candidate.

Yoshinori Suematsu of the Democratic Party of Japan

Back Story
Yoshinori Suematsu was born in 1956 in Fukuoka. He attended Tochiku High School, and continued his education at Hitotsubashi University (presumably his initial connection to the 19th). After graduating Hitotsubashi in 1980, Suematsu joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1986, Suematsu obtained a Masters degree from Princton University. In 1994, after watching the Ministry getting caught up in Gulf War diplomacy, Suematsu felt Japanese politics was in a sorry state and he quit the ministry to pursue a career in politics. Later that year Suematsu ran unsuccessfully as an Independent candidate for the Chofu city mayoral race. In 1996, Suematsu joined the newly formed Democratic Party of Japan, a precursor to the current DPJ, and ran a successful campaign to represent Tokyo's 19th district in the Lower House. Suematsu boasts that in his first term in office he crafted 5 lawmaker-initiated legislation (think private member's bills), and helped craft 5 others. In 2000, Suematsu successfully defended his seat, and was given the role of Vice-Minister for Public Safety in the DPJ's Next Cabinet system (think shadow cabinet). Suematsu successfully defended his seat again in 2003, and was subsequently named the Vice-Minister of Affairs in the DPJ Next Cabinet. As previously mentioned, in 2005 Suematsu failed to carry the 19th district, but managed to retain a seat in the Lower House by being elected through PR. Soon afterwards in 2006, Suematsu became the Minister of the Environment in the Next Cabinet. Earlier this year Suematsu became chair of the Lower House Special Committee on Problems Concerning Youth.

Suematsu points to his past as a former diplomat and government bureaucrat, to take stands against bureaucratic politics and wasteful spending by the government. He points to his experience as a diplomat during the Gulf War to tout his crisis management experience. He would use these skills to take a leadership re in determining policy for things like dealing with the new H1N1 influenza virus, a North Korean missile situation, and natural disasters like earthquakes. He also touts his role as the shadow Environment Minister, where he made proposals to prevent global warming. Unsurprisingly, Suematsu is for diplomacy and takes a stand against the war in Iraq and nuclear proliferation. Suematsu also supports reforming the pension system and health care to ensure that people have a proper social safety net. Suematsu's policies do not stray from the party's manifesto, but he takes the time to highlight his personal strengths and experience.

Democratic Party of Japan posters in the Tokyo 19th district
Unfortunately I have managed to miss Suematsu's public campaign. All I have to go on are the posters, which are rather bland, and on some anecdotes garnered from newspaper articles. Suematsu's posters often seen with the DPJ's national posters sport the DPJ's "regime change" slogan, and notes that Suematsu is a Lower House member and a former diplomat. An article on campaigning by candidates that were ousted by by Koizumi children in 2005 notes that Suematsu was stung by the 5000 vote loss and felt that a little more campaigning may have gotten him the win. Therefore, Suematsu and his team are apparently doing more to connect with voters in the district.

I believe that Suematsu will win thanks to the DPJ's popularity wave, and his impressive resume. If he were to lose I believe it would be a close loss to the LDP's Matsumoto and he'd get another PR seat. I would be shocked if Suematsu was not elected.
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