Actor Yamamoto, ex-wrestler Inoki win


Actor and anti-nuclear activist Taro Yamamoto and ex-wrestling star Antonio Inoki both won seats in Sunday’s Upper House contest, early returns showed.

Yamamoto, 38, who ran as an independent in the Tokyo constituency, appeared set to enter the upper chamber after failing to win a seat in the Lower House election in December.

He became widely known for his anti-nuclear power activities following the March 2011 Fukushima meltdowns. He has also campaigned against Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade liberalization negotiations, while calling for improved social security.

Inoki, 70, ran in the proportional representation segment for Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), which is jointly headed by former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.

The wrestling star won his first Upper House seat in 1989 as leader of the now-defunct Sports and Peace Party. In 1990, he helped negotiate the release of Japanese hostages in Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. He lost his seat in 1995.

  • Harmel Guram

    By joining Nippon Ishin no Kai, Antonio Inoki just lost any respect I had for him.

    • Masa Chekov

      Have you followed his politics at all? He’s been a mouthpiece for Pyongyang for ages. Hard to have any respect for that.

      • Harmel Guram

        You are absolutely correct. What I really wanted to say would have been moderated out. Anybody that votes for NIK is a tool (rhymes with a four letter F word) at best.

      • Masa Chekov

        Fortunately is seems that NIK increasingly becoming a footnote in Japanese politics. I think even a lot of their supporters were embarrassed by Hashimoto’s attitudes.

      • Harmel Guram

        I agree that it’s hard to have any respect for him.