Meet Ryokichi Kawashima. He's 94 years old, and lives in the suburbs of Tokyo. But he's not just another one of Japan's 30 million or so elderly... he's running for office in this Sunday's parliamentary elections. He said that after seeing what the other candidates were offering he thought "I could do better than that." So he filed his documents, commandeered his family as his campaign staff, and emptied his savings. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 94-YEAR-OLD PACIFIC WAR VETERAN AND CANDIDATE FOR SAITAMA NO.12 WARD IN JAPANESE LOWER HOUSE ELECTION, RYOKICHI KAWASHIMA, SAYING: "The money I'm using is what I put aside for my funeral. My daughter was against it. 'If you use that money, you won't be able to have a funeral,' she told me. But I told her it didn't matter, the money was just sitting here waiting to be used up. And I don't need a funeral anyway." Ironically, his campaign does not include any elderly specific platforms. He's pushing an anti-nuclear and anti-nationalist stance. But with about 1500 candidates running, he knows his chances of winning a seat are slim to none. For now, he's just happy to have his name on the ticket.
Dec. 13 - Japan's oldest candidate prepares for election day. Julie Noce reports. ( Transcript )
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