The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Tatsuo Suzuki

Tatsuo Suzuki electioneering in Tokyo Tatsuo Suzuki electioneering in Tokyo

Tatsuo Suzuki is not the most famous of candidates in the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Tokyo yet he has a long history of battling the establishment and working towards a fairer, society as a left-wing lawyer and union activist. He is standing this time in the hope that the people in Tokyo might actually want a change from the usual collection of self-interested eccentrics and corrupt careerists they usually get. He seems genuine enough: it is not easy being an anti-establishment lawyer and standing against the ideas of the people who expect you to be come one of them when you qualify as a practitioner of law. He has taken on cases that rattle the bars of vested interests like defending political prisoners like Fumiaki Hoshino.

His policies this time include halting  the constitutional reforms promised by Prime-Minister, Shinzo Abe and indeed even aim for the complete over-throw of the Abe government itself. He is anti-nuclear of course  yet unique among the candidates also believes the Olympics are a vast, wasteful vanity project that is taking away much needed funds from the reconstruction in Tohoku and feels that the city does not deserve this event while ever the Fukushima crisis is most obviously not under the control Abe promised it was.

A principled man, but a very long shot for electoral success I fear.

I photographed him campaigning and giving some short speeches to the anti-nuke faithful protesting outside the Diet Building on Friday night. I was quite impressed that these protests are still able to draw enough of a crowd to raise some noise and inconvenience the police the bit. Far from their popularist heyday of course but the call for a change of direction in Japanese energy policy is still one that resonates with many people despite the government’s attempts to neuter the debate or rewrite the narrative.  Suzuki San found a sympathetic crowd for his rather short message but many people there, who you think would be natural issue allies, seemed to have never heard of him.

Anyway I wish him luck.

Very busy, too much to do really. Need more hours in the day.




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