Eriko Imai of pop group SPEED to run in Upper House election
Eriko Imai, a member of the Okinawan all-female pop group SPEED is set to tun as a candidate representing the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the upcoming Upper House election early this summer. The party executive meeting approved her candidacy Monday.
The pop group SPEED consisted of four female members who all were students of Okinawa Actors School who became a huge success in late ‘90s with sales of singles and albums totaling over 20 million copies.
The LDP authorized 32-year-old Imai to run as an official proportional-representation candidate in the election. The LDP big-wigs apparently hope that Imai will boost the party’s prospects in Okinawa, which have been in rock bottom since the LDP-led government started the push for the construction of the MCAS Futenma replacement facility in Henoko.
Imai is a single mother with a deaf son, and has been actively taking part in social activities. Given Imai’s continuing popularity among her fans who are now in their 30’s and 40’s, the party hopes that Imai will join Okinawa’s current Upper House representative Aiko Shimajiri in her re-election campaign from the Okinawa constituency. Shimajiri is also the current minister in charge of Okinawa affairs, and is predicted to face an uphill battle to retain her seat given the fact that all LDP candidates in Okinawa lost their seats against candidates opposing the Henoko plan in the last House of Representatives election.