On July 4th, a Steering Committee member of the Greens Japan, Akiko Kando (漢人明子), won a seat in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, marking a milestone of the history of Greens Japan(緑の党). She was the co-founder of Greens Japan. This is a great triumph as winning a single-seat district historically been seen as impossible without close affiliations with big, established political parties in Japan.
The History of Greens Japan
The Greens Japan was established on July 28th 2012 as a national Green party to run in the House of Councillors election. But this is not the beginning of their story. In the 2007 Upper House Election, Ryuhei Kawada (川田龍平), an independent candidate and activist, won a seat in the House of Councillors and expressed his desire to work on health, welfare, and labour, indicating the formation of a Japanese Green party.
During the 2007 House of Councillors election, Rainbow and Greens (虹と緑), a political green organization, supported Kawada who eventually broke up the relationship with Greens Japan after he entered Upper House. However, as Kawada hoped, Rainbow and Greens merged with Greens Japan in 2008 and changed their names to “Greens Future” (みどりの未来), but their English name remains “Greens Japan.”
In the July 2013 election, Greens Japan fielded 10 candidates to the parliament but unfortunately, none of them won a seat. In the following years elections, Greens Japan won several seats in local councils, however they still did not send members to the parliament. Greens Japan is a member of the Global Greens. (see About Greens Japan (in English))
Kando represents a new step for Green Japan
Born in Shizuoka Prefecture, Kando moved to Tokyo when she was five years old. She attended Tokyo Gakugei University but withdrew from the program in halfway. Before leaving the university, Kando started her career as a nurse at nursing school in Koganei, Tokyo. In the 2017 Prefectural elections for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, Kando run for a seat but was defeated by a political neophyte from Tokyoites First Party (都民ファーストの会).
Throughout the campaign in 2021, Kando called for the cancellation of the Olympic Games because of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the retraction of the Metropolitan Government’s road-building plan. She has been widely supported by various citizen groups including the nursing school where she worked for twelve years. Comparing with the last election four years ago, Kando has garnered extensive support for her proposals among the opposition parties.
Kando indicates that municipal movement will make great changes for Tokyo and the people who live there. The greens movements in Europe inspired her and provided shinning examples to Japanese activists. Greens Japan saw the victory as a new step forward to change the current political environment and expected more municipal movement throughout Japan. (See the statement in Green Japan’s website)