National

Mainoumi turns down offer to run on LDP ticket

Kyodo

Former sumo wrestler Mainoumi on Friday declined an offer by the Liberal Democratic Party to run as its candidate in the summer House of Councilors election in his native Aomori Prefecture.

In a press statement, the sports commentator said he refused the offer from the LDP’s Aomori prefectural chapter because he does not believe the work he does on behalf of his hometown would be furthered if he became a lawmaker.

His management office said the 35-year-old Mainoumi, whose real name is Shuhei Nagao, has repeatedly turned down LDP requests since late last year.

“He believes the best way to repay the sumo world for making him what he is would not by becoming a legislator but by primarily working as a (sumo) commentator,” the office said.

The refusal comes after Jujiro Tomita, secretary general of the LDP chapter, said earlier Friday he believed there was a 50-50 chance of Mainoumi accepting the request to run in the July election.

“Mr. Mainoumi differs much from many other celebrity candidates in areas such as enthusiasm for tackling educational and sports issues as well as his way of life,” Tomita said. “We think he can live up to his potential.”

The chapter had short-listed Mainoumi, along with two prefectural assembly members, in planning its candidate list for the constituency.

Mainoumi is from Ajigasawa, Aomori Prefecture. He enjoyed great popularity among sumo fans for his feisty style and superb technique, which helped make up for the fact that he was one of the smallest wrestlers of his time.