September 19, 2017

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Yuriko Koike’s Comment about Shuntaro Torigoe Stokes Controversy

On July 17, while making an outdoor speech in Akihabara, gubernatorial candidate Yuriko Koike referred to Shuntaro Torigoe as a “person who has just recovered from illness” (the exact Japanese phrase was “病み上がりの人” pronounced yamiagari no hito). 

Torigoe was first diagnosed with cancer in 2005, and since then, he has had four surgeries and his cancer progressed to stage four. As a result, some have expressed concerns about his candidacy. However, Torigoe has said that he would like to devote the rest of his life to public service for Tokyo.

In a live TV debate on July 19, they ended up arguing over Koike’s remark. Torigoe said that it was discriminatory toward all cancer survivors, and that the comment was very inappropriate for someone who could potentially govern Tokyo.

Koike initially denied that she made the remark. However, after Torigoe showed evidence of the comment being broadcasted on an evening news program, she apologized.

The yamiagari comment was seen as shocking by many, but a politically active comic writer, Yoshinori Kobayashi, said that Koike’s observation was correct.

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