Excited new lawmakers take Diet seats

Kyodo News

Rookie lawmakers elected Aug. 30 attended the Diet on Wednesday for the first time, expressing nervousness, but mostly excitement.

Among the 158 newcomers, of whom 143 belong to the Democratic Party of Japan, the first to arrive was Yukiko Miyake, 44. The former TV reporter, who waged a fierce battle against former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in a Gunma district, showed up at the main gate at 2:47 a.m., several hours before it opened.

Miyake sat on a folding chair and chatted with another lawmaker.

Eriko Fukuda, a 28-year-old DPJ lawmaker who beat former Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma in the Nagasaki No. 2 district, said she would like to become a politician who voters can easily relate to.

“I don’t want to be called ‘sensei,’ ” she said, referring to the honorific commonly used for lawmakers. “I prefer being called Fukuda-san or Eri-chan.” “It is beautiful and solemn,” said Shiori Yamao, a former musical actress and public prosecutor, as she looked up at the Diet building. “Inside I want to do my job in a way that matches the cleanliness (of the building).”

The DPJ rookie won in the Aichi No. 7 district.