Current Affairs

94-year-old Japanese man cashes funeral fund to run in election

A Japanese nonagenarian has cashed in his funeral savings to use as an election deposit while running in the Japanese general election.

Ryokichi Kawashima was out canvassing for votes just days ahead of the general election and says he invested his £22,000 to stop this generation “making such a mess of things”.

“I’ve saved my pension money as expenses for my own funeral,” said Kawashima. “Honestly speaking, I may not be able to win but I want to state my case,” said the politician elect, whose youngest rival candidate is just 24.

He is now one of 1,504 candidates running for 480 seats in the House of Representatives and has been motivated to come out of retirement due to worries over right-leaning candidates.

“I didn’t die in the war and I’ve had a lot of good times since. If I’d just gone on this way, I would feel guilty towards my comrades who died.”

The former World War Two soldier, who served for seven years on the frontline in China, said he was running on behalf of the weak.

Kawashima says his eyesight and mind are both still sharp, and that he will utilise these in his fight against five candidates from established political parties.

Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world, with government figures showing that more than 23 per cent of people are aged 65 or over. In 50 years, that will rise to 40 per cent.

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