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Disabled legislators receive election certificates, express delight, aspirations for future

Eiko Kimura, of Reiwa Shinsengumi, receives a certificate of election after winning a seat in the July 21 House of Councillors election, at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in Tokyo on July 26, 2019. (Mainichi/Emi Naito)
Yasuhiko Funago, of Reiwa Shinsengumi, receives a certificate of election after winning a seat in the July 21 House of Councillors election, at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in Tokyo on July 26, 2019. (Mainichi/Emi Naito)

TOKYO -- Two severely disabled legislators who won seats in the House of Councillors poll on July 21 expressed delight and aspirations on July 26 as they received certificates confirming their election.

In a ceremony at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in Tokyo, the Central Election Management Council handed certificates to 50 legislators who were elected to the upper house through the proportional representation bloc, including Eiko Kimura, 54, and Yasuhiko Funago, 61.

Kimura and Funago, both of whom are severely disabled, ran on the ticket of the political group Reiwa Shinsengumi, headed by actor and politician Taro Yamamoto, and received the two seats the party won in the election.

Kimura suffered a cervical spine injury when she was 8 months old and uses a wheelchair as she can hardly move her legs or left arm. After the ceremony she expressed elation over her election.

"This is a miracle which was achieved by many people who supported my life and livelihood," she said. She added that she wanted to promote inclusive education, in which disabled children are not separated from those without disabilities.

Funago is largely paralyzed due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). "I'm overwhelmed with emotion and delighted beyond words," he commented via a helper.

The newly elected lawmakers will appear in the House of Councillors for the first time on Aug. 1 to attend an extraordinary parliamentary session which will commence the same day. Their term is for six years, running from July 29 to July 28, 2025.

(Japanese original by Hironori Takechi, Political News Department)

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