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Sunday, February 14, 2016

SPEED's Imai Eriko to stand for election in this summer's Upper House election

SPEED member Imai Eriko announced that she will be a proportional representation candidate under the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) flag in the upcoming Upper House election this summer during a press conference at the LDP's headquarters on 9 February. While introducing herself to the media, Imai also used sign language.

When asked about her reason to stand for election, Imai cited her 11-year-old son who has a hearing disability as the main reason. While meeting other mothers and children who are in the same situation as them, she wanted more people to know about the struggles they face and aspires to give hope to the children by creating a society which is more aware about their problems and supportive towards them. She wishes that when her son grows up, he will come to feel that being born in Japan is a good thing and she hopes to work towards this goal from now on.

Imai commented that discrimination against those with disabilities stems from ignorance about them thus she hopes to increase awareness in this area first. Subsequently, when society as a whole is more aware of the struggles facing families raising children with disabilities, there can be better policies designed to meet their needs. For example, there are many students with hearing disabilities who enter university but find it difficult to continue thus there is a need for more people trained in sign language to help them. During major disasters, there is also a need for people who know sign language to pass on instructions and information to those who cannot hear. As for why she decided to run under the LDP flag, she mentioned that she was invited by Santo Akiko who is also from the LDP and that she identified with the latter's character and ideals.

Imai comes from Naha City in Okinawa Prefecture and is one of the main vocalists in SPEED. She expects to continue with her music career even if she is elected.

Source: Sponichi / Sankei News

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