Puranik Yogendra, a 41-year-old Indian-origin Japanese, who goes by the nickname “Yogi”, has been elected to Tokyo's Edogawa Ward assembly. Interestingly, he becomes the first Indian to win an election in Japan.
The Pune born secured 6,477 votes, the fifth highest of the 226,561 valid ballots cast, in the April 21 poll, part of unified local elections held across Japan. Backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, this Yogi is on a mission to "to be a bridge between Japanese and foreigners.”
"Japan is neat and everyone was kind," says Yogi, talking about his early experiences of visiting Japan as a student in 1997 and going back in 2001 to work as an engineer before finally settling there in 2005. “I want to be a bridge between Japanese and foreigners,” said Yogi.
Yogi first arrived in Japan in 1997 when he was a university student in India. He returned two years later to study, and in 2001 came back to work as an engineer. He later worked for a bank and other companies, and has resided in Edogawa Ward since 2005. "Japan is neat and everyone was kind," Yogi has said, recalling his early experiences. Yogi also said that he joined Japan's people after the Japan earthquake and Tsunami in 2011.During this time, he used to cook food for the victims in association with Indian friends present in Japan. Yogi further said that, "I decided that I would be a citizen of Japan and work for the people here. I have been living in Japan for the past 20 years”.
While over 34,000 Indians reside in Japan, Edogawa Ward has the highest number of Indian residents among Tokyo's 23 wards with approximately 4,300 Indian nationals registered, accounting for more than 10 percent of Indians living in Japan. The Edogawa Ward also has a large number of Chinese and Koreans.
This is the first victory of a naturalised Japanese of Indian-origin in elections in Japan and also a recognition of contributions made by Indians towards the Japanese society!