Tokyo Gubernatorial Election 2020: Candidate Profile for Makoto Sakurai

This is the 5th post introducing candidates in the Tokyo governor race.

Check the other candidate profiles using these links: Koike; Utsunomiya; Ono; Yamamoto.

The goal of these profiles is to get readers to know all the candidates on one website. I want to help people find information with minimal effort.

This post will focus on Makoto Sakurai (leader of the Japan First Party) and his policies.


Source: Public Domain

Name/Age: Makoto Sakurai/48 years old

Former Occupation: The Citizen Group That Will Not Forgive Special Privileges for Koreans in Japan (Founder)

Political Party: Japan First Party (Leader)

 Official WebsiteTwitter

2020 Policies

Tokyo Governor Race

① 2-year moratorium (suspension) on metropolitan residents’ tax & property taxes

  • Issue metropolitan bonds + open a bank 
  • To win a majority in the assembly, will approve over 100 official candidates of the Japan First Party (need a majority to pass legislation in Tokyo)
  • Pledges not to receive a salary as governor

② Regulate pachinko parlors (gambling slot machine)

③ Immediate suspension of public assistance/social benefits for foreigners

8 Policies for the Reiwa Era 

① Economy/Taxation

  • Reduce residential tax rates 
  • Property tax exemptions for residential land 
  • Taxing stock trading
  • Stricter regulation of the size-based business tax on large companies 
  • A bankruptcy revival system (giving people a second, third chance)
  • Open a bank that exclusively operates for transactions in Tokyo

② National Security

  • Increase police officers & firefighters
  • Enact a Tokyo version of the Main Crop Seeds Act (requires each prefecture to maintain good quality seeds of main crops like rice, wheat and barley)
  • Establish Tokyo’s own standards for pesticides
  • Strengthen regulation on genetically modified food 
  • Ban the privatization of water utility services
  • Reduce illegal overstayers (foreigners) by ½ (done by the national government)
  • Eradicate the acquisition of residential status through scams/impersonation

③ Infrastructure

  • Promote redevelopment & maintenance of infrastructure in the metro area
  • Promote Haneda Airport to become the #1 airline hub in Asia

④ Labor

  • Employ part-time civil servants as full-time employees or hire them with the same benefits/pay
  • Eradicate “black companies,” the labor standards act, and minimum wage act
  • Regulate the system that treats foreign workers like slaves (ex. foreign trainee system)

⑤ Social Welfare

  • Raise the usage of the welfare system to 100%
  • Relax the conditions for receiving social welfare benefits 
  • Suspend public assistance/social welfare for foreigners 
  • Improve working conditions for nursery teachers & caretakers in senior residential homes
  • Strengthen the function of child consultation centers & increase professional staff
  • Save the homeless & net cafe refugees (people who live in an Internet cafe)

⑥ Culture

  • Ban the regulation of manga (comic)/anime expressions 
  • Ban the regulation of free speech (ex. regulation that prohibits hate speech)
  • Support research of “real” history & culture

⑦ Education

  • Aid students through partial grant-based scholarships & exemptions to overdue interest fees 
  • Reform education from one that focuses on cramming to an individually-oriented problem solving system

⑧ Gambling

  • Ban the establishment of new pachinko parlors & casinos
  • Impose a new tax on pachinko parlors to address gambling addiction

Policy Recommendations to the National Government (April 4, 2020)

This is a brief look at other policies Sakurai proposes (not for the Tokyo governor election). It gives you a better sense of what he stands for.

All policies below are to be funded by issuing government bonds. 

① 10,000 yen cash handouts to every Japanese citizen (not households)

  • Population x 10,000 yen = 12.4 trillion yen (approx. $115 billion)
  • Cash handout to every child and adult in Japan
  • Issue government checks/cheques (prevents the spread of COVID-19 + faster)

② Abolish the consumption tax

  • Tax reduction on 19.4 trillion yen (last year’s consumption tax amount)
  • National government increased consumption tax to balance out the reduction in corporate taxes

③ Reduce income tax by ½ 

Tax reduction on 10 trillion yen (out of the 19.9 trillion yen taxed last year)

④ Relief for small/mid-sized businesses 

  • Use 50 trillion yen to revitalize small/mid-sized businesses (through public projects/works)
  • Reinforce the role of the Small & Medium Enterprise Agency (chuushou kigyouchou) to ensure job orders from large companies are being distributed evenly to smaller businesses
  • Improve working conditions for healthcare workers (ensure they are well paid)
  • Ensure small-mid-sized businesses can get forgivable loans (can be deferred for a period of time) & loans at no interest

First Impressions

  • Campaign promises differ from the “main” candidates—only promises 3 things & ensures these will be accomplished (unlike other candidates who he claims pledge unattainable goals)
  • Policies weren’t as radical as expected
  • You get the feeling he cares about Japanese citizens a lot (many policies are similar to ones proposed by other candidates)
  • Policies aren’t geared toward foreigners or sexual minorities (no mention of LGBT rights), so his political base is likely to be leaning heavily to the right

There are appealing parts and appalling parts in Sakurai’s policy proposals.

Creating a Tokyo that is for Japanese people and prioritizes Japanese citizens isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As the party’s name suggests, Japan and its national interest come first; that is a part that many people can probably relate to.

Sakurai proposes to help a range of Japanese citizens (businesses and students alike). It’s not a problem to prioritize aid to Japanese businesses and people.

However, the part that cannot be condoned is the racial bigotry. Lumping all foreigners (esp. Koreans in the case of Sakurai) together and discriminating against them is wrong.

In addition, a country like Japan that has serious labor shortages requires working hands; that includes foreign trainees and any other sources of labor. If labor conditions are poor, the shortage will continue.

In that sense, it’s important to provide adequate working conditions and subsidies to companies that bring in foreign trainees. Abolishing these benefits will end up undermining national interests.

From a Japanese point of view, Sakurai is a candidate that could be taken seriously like the other main candidates in this race. His criticism of biased media reporting is actually quite interesting. At the same time, it’s true that he is a bigot that discriminates against foreigners. That is something that cannot be condoned.

One thing is certain: every candidate deserves to be studied and publicly known.

Voters should get to know each candidate before deciding who they align with most.

The next series of posts will shed light on candidates that haven’t been reported in the media.

14 thoughts on “Tokyo Gubernatorial Election 2020: Candidate Profile for Makoto Sakurai

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