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My name is Mayo. Today, we have 2 guests! The first guest is from India and becomes the first politician in Japan. I will introduce him properly later. The second guest is standing next to me. Mr. Atre Please introduce yourself. Hello, my name is Shreyas Atre. I am from Pune, Maharashtra I also work for TV industry. I also work as a Tourism Ambassador for the Japanese Government. I’m happy that Ms. Mayo invited me to be in this interview. Thank you. So today, we are going to interview “that person”. Let’s get started! This is the Tokyo Edogawa City councilor, Mr. Yogi. Thank you very much for your time amongst your busy schedule. Thank you for coming here. It was a brilliant achievement for you to win the election as a first city councilor from India. Congratulations on winning the election. Thank you very much. Now, I would like to introduce him for people who don’t know about Mr. Yogi. Now, I would like to interview Mr. Yogi. First of all, please tell us why you decided to run for the position of Tokyo Edogawa City councilor, in spite of being from India? First, I’ve been in Japan for 20 years and lived in Edogawa city for 15 of those years. At first, I didn’t have much of a connection with the Japanese community, but when I moved to Edogawa in 2005 I decided to change that. I decided to get more involved with the Japanese community. So I went to volunteer my efforts at the local summer festival. When I moved to Edogawa, I lived in an area famous for having a lot of Indian nationals called Nishi-Kasai. Indian community had a strong presence in Nishi-Kasai. The Indian people were not always mindful of Japanese cultural norms and rules. This caused some tension between Japanese neighbors and the Indian nationals. The Indian nationals were not aware of the rules, otherwise, they would have followed them. So I decided to volunteer to help these kinds of issues that my community was facing. Around 2016 – 2017, I started wondering if my volunteering is having enough of an impact. I also realized that the people representing us didn’t fully understand issues regarding multicultural coexistence or multicultural symbiosis. The local government didn’t understand exactly how to provide better living conditions to foreigners. The local government brought up the idea of creating a multicultural area called “Little India” in Nishi Kasai and this made me think that they really don’t understand the life of foreigners. It was after that event that I seriously considered running. I started thinking about it in 2017. Two years later, you finally decided to run for the position of Tokyo Edogawa city councilor, right? Yes. In 2017, I created a LINE group with Japanese neighbors. One of the members changed the group’s name into “Yogi City councilor will be born”. That’s really interesting. Of course, it was your own will to decide to run for city councilor but there was also a Japanese neighbor’s support that pushed you to become a city councilor. Yes, there was. Almost all the voters are Japanese, so I asked Japanese people if they would vote for me if I run. They said it would be interesting if someone like me becomes a city councilor. You won the election with the help of Japanese people in the Nishi Kasai section in Edogawa where Japanese and Indians coexist. So in the present day Japan which has seen an increase of foreigners, this will be a model case. I hope my case can serve as a “good” model. But if I make a blunder or something… I won’t resign though… haha. Since you won the election, foreigners like myself may want to get involved in the administration. By all means, I want people like you to run for election. I hope more and more foreigners will run for future elections. I believe it is good for Japanese society. The number of foreigners in Japan is increasing. Foreigners must blend into Japanese society. We need to solve problems that both foreigners and the Japanese have from both sides. Some foreigners are not fluent in Japanese, so it is difficult for them to tell their problems to the local government. In such a case, people who understand English and have a foreign background like Mr. Yogi will be necessary to assist them. Yes and, in addition to that he is very kind and easy to get along with. yeah… yes… He says it himself but it’s true… I totally agree… I would like to ask a political question. I agree that more foreigners should participate in politics. However, I think the laws are somewhat exclusionary. The right to run and right to vote are limited to those who are naturalized citizens. Mr. Edano, the representative of The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan said “We should give foreigners the right to vote.” What is your opinion on this? In the UK, those who pay taxes are awarded the right to vote. I think foreigners should have the right to vote in Japan as well but a few steps need to be taken. First, Japan has a high language barrier. Second, it is difficult to understand Japanese politics. Third, the Japanese culture ”honne to tatemae” (true intentions and words) is hard to understand. In some cases, for example, politicians who I think are good have another side. Foreigners need to understand these things before having the right to vote. There are also multiple complex problems. The reason why I didn’t like about Nishikasai’s Little India is that when foreigners gather and live in one place, that becomes a distinctive community, The outside people look at the community differently. Such as “This is Chinatown”, “This is India town.” etc.. Some people believe that I won the election because 4,000 Indians living in Edogawa city voted for me” That is a misunderstanding. Most Indians do not have the right to vote. Just think about it. The threshold to win the city councilor position in Edogawa city is 3,500 votes. If the Indians had suffrage, the Indian community could arbitrarily represent themselves. If that happens, the community loses balance. The Indian community will start thinking that they are strong. That’s not good. Foreigners should get the right to vote without causing such a situation. First, we have to let foreigners live evenly in Japan. Foreigners should learn Japanese, and the Japanese should learn English so that both can communicate and get closer. We could, for example, give Japanese political news in English. I would like foreigners to take those steps and get the right to vote or run for election. I am very interested in the concept of “Little India” that you mentioned earlier. I come to Nishi Kasai when there are festivals for Holi and Diwali. I think Nishi Kasai has such unique characteristics that could be more featured to revitalize the city. However, you have the opinion that you are against the “Little India”. Isn’t there a possibility to revitalize the city or promote the Indian restaurants externally? I think there is. What I opposed was not the concept itself, but the goal of the concept. I did not disagree from the beginning. When the website of little India was completed and the goals were set, neither the Indian community nor the Japanese community wanted those goals. It’s really important to listen to the voices of the people in the community. In the case of Little India, we had to ask Indians that live in Nishi Kasai whether or not they want it. I insisted that it was necessary, but the local government didn’t go through with it. I like going to Chinatown and my wife is Chinese, so I really like China. But People only see the good side of Chinatown and Little India. I have been to Chinatown many times. Please visit Little India in the UK, Queens in New York and New Jersey. Only in those areas, garbage is freely dumped, sewers are overflowing, and water suppliy pipes are bursting. Only in those areas, Little India in the UK and Queens in New York are very dirty. No maintenance. The buildings are dirty. It is necessary to think about not only developing the city but also maintaining it for the next 10, 20, and 30 years. The city is not infrastructure. The city is people. Let’s say you have created about 50 Indian stores there. You make restaurants, general stores, clothing stores, yoga studios, massage stores, and so on. How much sales do you expect from those stores? I’m a bank person, so I think about the benefit first. The salary of a person working in an Indian restaurant is around 100,000 yen. Have you ever been to see how they live? No, haven’t. People who have never seen it have no right to say about making Little India. Before you make Little India, you need to take certain steps, just like voting rights. First Japanese and Indians should get to know each other better and form closer relationships. Now, our city holds cultural events such as Diwali and Holi and when it’s over, that’s it. Not many Japanese people join the Diwali festival in Nishi Kasai. Only Japanese who are into Indian culture join the events. Like me… The reason for this is that people do not acknowledge each other’s differences. People have to acknowledge each other, get closer to each other and go to each other’s festivals. Summer festivals are also held at places that are familiar to the whole community, but how many foreigners participate in this event? Only very few foreigners end up participating in it. Not only Japanese but also foreigners are not trying to interact. I see.. When both cultures begin to form closer relationships and people naturally start thinking “If we make Little India here, it would be interesting” then there’s a possibility of creating Little India. In the future, do you plan to go up one rank and become a member of the Diet member in the future? It is two ranks higher. One rank higher of city councilor is Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. Do you want to become a member of the Diet member in the future? Yes, I want to be Prime Minister…. Oh, that’s a bold statement. How many ranks more? My plan is to become a member of the Diet in eight years. In general, many people think that the Upper house is enough for foreigners. However, I want to be a member of the House of Representatives. As a step toward that, I plan to serve as city councilman for two terms (which is a total of 8 years). I am thinking it would be ok to skip the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. I was asked whether or not I would want to run in the next metropolitan assembly election. I’m still in my first year as a city councilor and I’m still learning, so I haven’t thought about the next metropolitan assembly election. However, in the long run, I should have a plan for the future. I want to aim for the Diet in 8 years. In other words, by the time I am around 50, I want to be a Diet member. By the time I am around 60, I want to aim for the minister position. I need to educate myself more before I get there. I should be good at gathering and sharing information. I want to become the true YOGI which means I need to be someone who thinks about everyone. I am not there yet, I am aware that I still have my likes and dislikes. I want to be able to accept everyone and think about everyone. In eight years, I want to be a Diet member, sixteen years after that I want to be a minister, and the rest is up to the people in Japan. There may be “Yoginomics(PM. Yogi)”. Lastly, would you like to say to the viewers? In conclusion, I don’t want to do politics like a politician. I can use my experience in IT and banking to think logically about “what’s beneficial for people”. Politics has emotions on top of logic. It’s not good to have too many emotions. I want to be a politician who thinks about not only my supporters but everyone. I want to be a politician like that. Secondly, I don’t want to think about things on a case by case basis. Each case is important, but it’s important to see the big picture. I want to process cases by considering all factors and looking at issues from a wide angle as well. Lastly, my key message is that I want to be a bridge between the Japanese community and the foreign community. However, sometimes people misunderstand my message and think that I speak only for foreigners. It’s not correct. Currently, people who vote for me are Japanese. At least now. It doesn’t matter who voted. I became a representative for the community. The community won’t be happy if only foreigners or if only Japanese people are happy. I want to think about how we can make everyone happy and give a voice to everyone. For example, when I talk about teaching both English and Japanese at a school in Edogawa city, I am not only speaking for foreigners. Now, there are many Japanese people who go abroad like Mayo. It shouldn’t be only because she went to Osaka University, school of foreign studies. We should educate children in schools to be global. I want to bring up children to be open-minded and confident, not to be nervous in front of foreigners and be able to squeeze out as much English as they can. I want to raise such children. So, if a public school teaches in English and Japanese then foreigners and Japanese people can study together, In the future, when people work with foreigners, they will be able to work better with the thoughts that people are all same regardless of different nationalities. Those are all the things I wanted to say before ending the interview. I’m looking forward to seeing how Edogawa city will change. I’m also looking forward to it. Thank you very much for today! How did you like the interview? I really enjoyed interviewing Yogi san. He is from India and he is trying really hard to make people’s lives better in Japan. He wants to bring Japanese, Indians and other foreigners closer. I really liked how he thinks. If possible, I would like to keep supporting him. How was the interview for you? From the interview, I thought he is really knowledgeable. I hope the relationship between Indians and Japanese will be even better because of Yogi san’s efforts. I totally agree! That’s all for today! If you like this video, Please like and subscribe to my channel! Thank you very much for watching my video! See you again soon!!!