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Celebrity politicians, including TV personalities and a professional wrestler, attended a Diet session for the first time Tuesday since they were elected to the House of Councilors on July 29.

Pro wrestler Atsushi Onita, elected to the Upper House as a member of LDP, enters the Diet.

Before attending the extraordinary Upper House plenary session, Yoichi Masuzoe, a 52-year-old political scientist and TV celebrity, told reporters, “My responsibility is now hundreds of times more serious than being an outside commentator.”

Masuzoe won about 1.58 million votes as a candidate for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the highest number in the proportional representation section of the election. He disparaged conventional and conservative politicians, saying, “Candidates who had been backed by industry groups could only collect around a third of the votes I did.”

Kyosen Ohashi, a former TV celebrity and member of the Democratic Party of Japan, also showed up at the Diet. having exchanged his trademark black, thick-frame glasses for specs with a thin frame. “I attended a general meeting of the DPJ yesterday and thought I had entered a tough world,” Ohashi, 67, told reporters.

Ohashi took the opportunity to criticize Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s planned visit to Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15, the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.

“Overseas, politicians speak after thinking carefully. Mr. Koizumi, who ponders after speaking out, would be the butt of jokes in other countries,” he said.

Atsushi Onita, a 43-year-old professional wrestler who won a ticket to the upper chamber with the LDP, appeared in a black school uniform.

“(The Diet) is a fighting ring,” he said.

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