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外国特派員協会講演会質疑応答 | Q & A at the Foreign Correspondent's Club
I am SHIRAKAWA, Katsuhiko. It is my great honor and pleasure to be invited here and make a speech as the leader of a new party without name. I am really grateful to you and would like to show my respect to all of you.
Now I said that I show my respect to you, because I respect your sense of journalist. As you know well, journalism in Japan, if any, I hope, pay much attention to a "fuss" and report it on a massive scale, pouring oil on the fire. But political events, unlike earthquakes or a surprise attack by a submarine, do not happen suddenly one day. Political events will occur by the challenges based on the elaborate preparations by some one. Of course, even somebody tries to challenge so many times, most of them do not produce results. I believe it is very important to watch such a small challenge in order to foresee politics.
It is easily understood by those who know about politics a little that my challenge this time is actually a real big "challenge". I am confident that my challenge will be successful. In fact, it is very interesting to watch the start-up of this challenge.
Why will my challenge succeed? There are three major reasons for it. First, LDP, New Komeito and Conservative Party coalition regime is a very vulnerable castle on the sands. Secondly, great majority of people wants to overthrow this regime. Thirdly, true experts of election in LDP have risen to topple the present coalition from power with opposition parties.
In June 1993, when LDP became an opposition party, many politicians left LDP. And in 1994, when LDP recovered the position of a ruling party, many politicians returned to LDP. But I am the first politician that abandoned LDP again in power and left it.
I believe many politicians will leave LDP in the near future and LDP will lose power in a few years. I hope Mr. KATO, Koichi will follow my path soon.
Now let me introduce myself a little.
I was born on June 22, 1945, just before the end of the war in Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture. So my name "Katsuhiko" means victorious man . When I was at High School, there were 3 Katsuhikos in one class.
My family was operating "hataya", which has manufactured Japanese Kimono. My family consisted of parents, nine brothers and sisters and a husband of my elder sister and their three children. There were about 13 to 15 female employees living in our house. That means there were about 30 people living together at my house.
So I was living with a lot of adults from my early childhood. But my father's business went bankrupt when I was at the first year of junior high school. When Japan has started to recover from the ruins of war and the life of the people was getting better, my family became as poor as what we had been at the end of the war.
During the summer vacation of 1962, I was given a chance to visit the United States under the Rotary Scholarship. I stayed at some Rotarians' homes in Los Angels. You can imagine what a great cultural shock a high school boy got, seeing wealthy American families. Until then, I have visited Tokyo only once on the school excursion.
Recently the United States has recovered its confidence but at that time it was far more confident in every field. President was John F. Kennedy. I felt sad about the poverty of Japan comparing with the riches of the United States. Wealth does not always bring happiness but poverty often makes life unhappy.
I was determined to study politics after I returned from the United States. Luckily enough, I could enter the University of Tokyo. I lived in a dormitory of the university, there were about 800 students in the dorm, and I became vice president of the dormitory very soon. For 6 years at the university, I have been engaged in student activities by assuming the leadership. So I was rather famous among the students since then.
I became an attorney at law in Tokyo. But I couldn't find much interest or ambition in legal professions and have spent a dull life. I then decided to pursue a career of politician and returned to my hometown when I was 30 years old, and started political activities. Everybody around me thought it was extremely difficult for me to achieve the goal since I had nothing. That means I had no jiban-foundations, kaban-money, or kanban-popularity. I was not successful at my first challenge but succeeded at the second time. I was elected a member of the House of Representatives in 1979, when I was 34 years old. It is already over 20 years since then.
During that time, I was elected six times for the Diet. While I had a seat in the Diet, I served as Parliamentary Vice-Minister for National Land, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Posts and Telecommunications, Chairman of Commerce and Industry Committee, Minister of Home Affairs and Chairman of National Public Safety Commission. As offices of LDP, I have served as Director of General Affairs Bureau, who is in charge of election strategy and planning and Director of Organization Policy Bureau who is in charge of actually conducting election activities. It is said that then Secretary General KATO and SHIRAKAWA have made the greatest contribution to the merit of the general election of 1996.
Now I would like to switch to Japanese.
I would like to thank again for giving me such a wonderful opportunity to talk about my big challenge quite a long time.
Thank you very much for listening.
Q & A at the Foreign Correspondent's Club
March 9, 2001
Q 1: What is the difference
between the new party and the other oppositions?
Q 2: In France, political
parties are required to list male and female evenly on the list of candidates. Do you have
such an idea in your new party?
Q 3: If I heard correctly,
the new party will put candidates only in proportional constituency. I think it is better
to put candidates also in some local constituencies in order to strengthen the power of
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