Indian-origin ‘Yogi’ wins ward assembly elections in Japan

JAPAN : A 41-year-old Indian-origin Japanese, who goes by the nickname “Yogi”, has been elected to Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward assembly, becoming the first Indian to win an election in Japan. Puranik Yogendra, a naturalised Japanese, secured 6,477 votes, the fifth highest of the 226,561 valid ballots cast, in the April 21 poll, 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 was backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

Edogawa Ward has the highest number of Indian residents among Tokyo’s 23 wards with 4,300 or so Indian nationals registered, accounting for more than 10 per cent of Indians living in Japan. Over 34,000 Indians live in Japan. The Edogawa Ward also has a large number of Chinese and Koreans.

“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, the author of Changing Dynamics of India-Japan Relations, told PTI.