Uyghur-heritage candidate urges Japan to embrace diversity

By Hiroshi HIYAMA

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Eri, 33, is running for a seat in the Diet's upper house with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party,

First rule of politics—choose the party that will win and run in an election for that party.

8 ( +17 / -9 )

Best Of Luck for Eri.

Any candidate with different background, and or ethnicity will help.

Japan has long suffered from lack of diversity and I hope more and more candidates like her will come forward despite the hurdles. Future generations of migrants children will eventually start joining the political system and bring about the changes needed.

12 ( +26 / -14 )

Eri, 33, is running for a seat in the Diet's upper house with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, on a platform that emphasizes bread-and-butter issues

Then her platform does not match the LDP's. She should emphasize QE monetary easing and subsidies to oil companies. That is the new capitalism.

But look! She is a woman and a minority! Japan is getting so progressive!

-5 ( +24 / -29 )

If Uyghur muslims are playing a victim here... "China is torturing them"..... But look non of the muslim nations and the muslim organizations in the world...... never stood against China.....

WHY ???? WHY??

Most of the African muslim nations love China as sugar ...

In the middle east trillions of dollars worth Chinese goods and Chinese business are thriving ...

But if the west make any small restriction or comment about that religion then they all unite are bark ... call to boycott the western products .. ( we saw with France)

Only nations supporting Uyghur muslims are USA. .. that was until 2020.. And Now Japan...

Any comments???

Can stop the commenting by deleting it ..

But can not delete the truth that exist undeletable.....

5 ( +20 / -15 )


Spot on!

Eri, 33, is running for a seat in the Diet's upper house with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party

Had me until this. Also, "amending the pacifist constitution".

I don't know about her and her motivation, but it's clear Japan's conservatives will use her to display their "progressiveness" by having a female candidate (her LDP female colleagues are anything but progressive though). And her ethnic background is a convenient way of increased fearmongering about the "threat of China". There's no denying the treatment of ethnic Uyghurs is atrocious. However, she's decided to align herself with the political party of people who glorify people who did the same and whose doctrines on things such as ethnicity and hierarchies are very similar to the CCP's version of nationalism. Smart move for her, perhaps, but detrimental to social justice and any meaningful progress.

-6 ( +19 / -25 )

on a platform that emphasizes bread-and-butter issues...

...She plans to campaign for amending the pacifist constitution, which bars the use of force to settle international disputes and is interpreted by some as prohibiting the country from having any military force.

What? Is this the so-called bread-and-butter issue? She is just toeing the LDP war mongers' line to get a seat in the Diet.

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

The UK currently has its worst government in living memory but it includes several women and ethnic minorities. Despite being female and of Indian origin, the Home Secretary has introduced anti-immigration policies and has done nothing for women, despite high profile concerns including a woman being raped and murdered by a policeman in a police car. Patel also refused to resign despite bullying a staff member who got about 500k USD of taxpayer cash in compensation. It's not the background of the politicians that matter, it's the policies.

22 ( +25 / -3 )

"Instead of my vision and policies as a Japanese politician, people ask me about the Uyghur issue because of my ethnic background," she told AFP. "I can understand why this happens, but it feels a bit strange."

In an ideal world, people should focus on what a politician can do, not on their looks, heritage and background. And I know that the Japanese will disagree with this, but race don't mean much when it comes to what a person can do. Which one is better, a Japanese with a foreign heart or a foreigner with a Japanese heart?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Dagon and Yotomaya have both raised salient points. According to this article Ms. Arfiya supports abandoning Japan's peace constitution, gaslighting the Japanese people with an anti-Chinese propaganda campaign and continuing the LDP's program of state subsidies for large corporations, while simultaneously impoverishing ordinary working people. There's nothing progressive about any of this, it's just standard Nippon Kaigi boilerplate.

What the article fails to mention is that Ms. Arfiya studied in the Foreign Policy Department at Georgetown University and worked for the notorious, far-right neo-con think tank/propaganda machine, the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The CSIS, whose luminaries include the likes of Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Tony Blinken and Zbigniew Brzezinski, was heavily involved in the 1973 Chile coup and Iran-Contra.

It's difficult to see how any genuine social progress can come from Ms. Arfiya joining the party of Shinzo Abe, Sanae Takaichi and Mio Sugita.

-1 ( +21 / -22 )

Do not vote her,it obviously she is not enlightened by the anti women views of the LDP

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

Interesting how many ultra-right nationalists here in Japan have the biggest smiles in their PR photos. Politicians I support never smile so broadly.

I’ve also heard people who know this woman swear she’s the nicest and most competent woman they know—regardless of political differences. I guess we need to give her a chance, but I’ve still yet to meet a female LDP member who truly cares for anyone. In fact, as we have seen with Sanae Takaichi, gender has little to do with “being soft” and I guess Margaret Thatcher is another prime example. I say give Ms. Arfiya a chance but don’t be surprised if she turns out to be someone hawkish and looking forward to turning the clock back on Japan with support for policies that hurt most of us.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Great story! Good luck Ms Arfiya!

This story will show loud and clear to China that ethnic minorities - a Uyghur no less - can be democratically elected, and play a part in the government of a free, safe and prosperous nation.

Japan embracing and electing minorities, unlike China who locks them up to "re-educate" them.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

This is a good step forward for Japan, Women, and those of Uighur background.

And if gets China's panties in a knot, well, it's Japan;s internal affair.

Japan has nationalists and right-wing like every other country. Adding "ultra" to it means nothing other than to paint some fascist image. These groups in Japan are doing nothing to destabilize the world, as Russia and the CCP are doing. In fact if you haven't realized that these people have been and are backed by the United States, you are very naive.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Japan has long suffered from lack of diversity


2 ( +12 / -10 )

They "can face an adverse voter reaction if they push their ethnicity too much", he told AFP.

It reminds me of several ethnic minority candidates from the opposition parties.... and that's why they've got turned off.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

U.N. affiliated would be a hard pass.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Eri knows well that if ‘you can’t beat them, then join them’

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

A Uyghr no less - can be democratically elected. And play a part a part in the government of a free, and prosperous nation

Well...she hasn't been elected yet and it's sad to have to inform you that Japan isn't as free and as prosperous a nation as you think it is.

Japan isn't a free country !

Sorry !

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

gaslighting the Japanese people with an anti-Chinese propaganda campaign

I don't see the issue with anti-CCP sentiment.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Lots of women vote against their self interest,knowing how the LDP oppress women,you can have all the education,but sometimes it do not translate to good sense,we see this in America,Maize Horono give these right wing crazy hell in the Senate and she was born in Japan

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Hmmmm .... Do Ka na ?

Good luck Eri. You need loads of them.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Navy pinstripe jacket - check

Premium Friday Khaki pants - check check

Window dressing on abes nomiczs - checkcheckcheck


…Same paint different brush.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

LDP have fast-tracked her political career as a way to annoy China, probably under direct orders from Washington. She wouldn't be getting all this favorable promotion and coverage otherwise.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

the article just focuses on her ethnicity and the fact that she is a female with very little mention of what really matters - her values and how she plans to make the lives of japanese people better!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

She will be used by the LDP political machine until the point she becomes a threat to it, and then she will be disposed of.

There is no way in this world that a politician of her background, her diversity, and her gender reaches the higher echelons of the LDP. There is no chance the ultra conservative backward thinking oyajis allow such a thing to happen.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Good luck and hope you succeed! Quite a background you have.....

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Is there a country where diversity works ?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Is there a country where diversity works ?

Yes - Japan.

As this article brilliantly illustrates.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

neroToday 11:53 am JST

Is there a country where diversity works

Yeah, really. It sure didn't work for the natives in dozens of countries around the world when certain people came to their lands and excluded them, practiced genocide, wiped them out and destroyed their culture.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Is there a country where diversity works

Canad and Brazil off the top of my head.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

She certainly doesn’t sound like no far right Nippon Kaigi lucky to me Alfie. Nice try though. Concerted effort to cast down any minority that doesn’t fit the ‘progressive manual’ agenda. She sounds like a stark, feet on the ground , well spoken, highly educated and rational conservative. Boldly playing her part in the male dominated Japanese political landscape, in her own way to empower competent and ambitious women. Inspires us blokes at the same time! Wish her nothing but luck and yes, if it upsets our genocidal neighbors then, that’ll just be a side bonus. No matter what you think of the LDP it was a very savvy move to bring her on board. Expect to hear some good interviews ( in English too ! ) in the near future. Will watch this space.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Why is the photo so out of focus?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yes - Japan.

> As this article brilliantly illustrates.

I partly agree with you, @fighto!

I think it depends what your ethnicity is to how your opinion of diversity in Japan. How you're treated as a foreigner etc etc.

3 ( +4 / -1 )


Actually, it works in all countries that embrace it. Historically, every new minority has been demonized when there were waves of immigration, such as in the UK, where 100 years ago, it was the Irish, then Pakistani and West Indian immigrants, then Poles etc. These societies have always benefited from these waves of migrants in the long run. What's more, these immigrants often came from places their new home's government has been plundering for resources. If anyone is and was losing out, it's those "developing" countries as they still have their resources extracted under highly unfavourable conditions while losing great parts of their populations.

Japan is fading into irrelevance on the international stage and faces a demographic catastrophe partly because of its misguided ideas of national identity which makes it often an outright hostile place for people who come from ethnically different backgrounds.

This politician clearly is only there to put on a veneer of diversity of a political party many of whose supporters understand very well that people like her aren't and won't be welcome if there are too many of them.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

If Ms Arfiya - a Muslim Uyghur, foreign born woman - is elected to government by the Japanese people - it is a real stick in the eye to those who keep banging on about "Japan not accepting diversity", Japanese being "xenophobic", and so on.

Bigots and racists would not elect someone like Ms Arfiya to govern them.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

The Japanese government emboldens the forces of misogyny and racism. And that should frighten us all.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )


She hasn't been elected !!

So take a step down of your soapbox for a moment.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

It helps if you understand the difference between

a candidate


being elected.

The proof is in the pudding !

She's a Japanese citizen but also a female foreigner so it's going to be interesting if she gets elected.

Iam sceptical that she will.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Lost me at LDP not in my zone anyway I will use my influence to vote the main opposition just because it is better than voting for LDP.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

> > neroToday 11:53 am JST

Is there a country where diversity works

Singapore, Canada, India, Brazil, the U.S.! Some people expect perfection. No such thing exists but it works and you have to work to keep it. No one is going back anywhere.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

A UN official, likely a globalist that will infiltrate the homogeneous nationalists government that will do the bidding of the elite benefactors.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

she sounds like holding extreme prejudice to China. I hope she's no more than a nice token minority

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Bigots and racists would not elect someone like Ms Arfiya to govern them.

No, but they would let a Sri Lankan woman die...

We can't use one example to fit our agenda.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Is there a country where diversity works


Lol. Google "Anti Asian hate crime capital".

4 ( +6 / -2 )

JohansawadaToday 11:24 am JST

"the article just focuses on her ethnicity and the fact that she is a female with very little mention of what really matters - her values and how she plans to make the lives of japanese people better!"

Not so many years ago, the very idea of anyone of non-Yamato-minzoku origin being Japanese was widely rejected or at least doubted. That has changed or is at least well on its way to change...Hurray! I speak as a member of a "minority." But I am not in favor of "minoritarianism" or identity politics. JohansawadaToday makes a good point. We should be judging candidates for political office primarily according to their abilities, knowledge, honesty, and commitment...I am more interested in Arfiya Eri-san's political views, with which I happen to agree, even if some commenting here attack her for the same.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

MocheakeToday  01:54 pm JST

neroToday 11:53 am JST*

Is there a country where diversity works

Singapore, Canada, India, Brazil, the U.S.! Some people expect perfection.

I can't speak for the other countrues, but Im really not sure about "diversity working" in my country.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

LDP trying again to appear up-to-date and "with it," but as has been pointed out above in the end it just boils down to more elitist conservative right-wing policies, regardless of race.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@marc laden

You answered your own question, China is the largest investor in Africa and the middle east so they are far less likely to criticise China than the west. Also, China has not had any military involvement in these regions whereas there is already a lot of anti-western sentiment due to previous military interventions by western countries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Candidates like Eri have little to gain from putting their diversity front and centre in mostly mono-ethnic Japan, said Tomoaki Iwai, professor emeritus of Japanese politics at Nihon University."

That is all we need to take away from this overly long word salad.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We are in an era where transportation and communication are leading to the integration of races and cultures, worldwide. Growing up and living in California, I embrace and love the people from all over the world that I can interact with on an almost daily basis. It makes us all richer for the experience.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you're shoving it into my face, then no thank you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Navy pinstripe jacket - check

Premium Friday Khaki pants - check check

Window dressing on abes nomiczs - checkcheckcheck


…Same paint different brush.

Can I just say that Premium Friday is one of my favorite phrases ever lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mr. Arken Imirbaki, an ethnic Uygur, is a native of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China (XUAR PRC). He was born in 1953, graduated from the Northwest College of Light Industry and launched his career in March 1971. Currently, he is a Member of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 13th NPC.

He’s the equivalent of the speaker of the House. Won’t see that for years in Japan if at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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