TOKYO (TR) – Voters in Minato Ward brushed aside a recent controversy involving Mac Akasaka, a perennial candidate for public office who is known for campaigning in a number of costumes, and elected him to the ward assembly on Sunday.
As of 12:40 a.m. on Monday, Akasaka, 70, whose real name is Makoto Tonami, was projected to take the 30th seat (out of 34 available) among a field of 54 in the assembly ballot. Ai Seikei was the top finisher.
Akasaka had failed in his previous 13 attempts. “I still can’t believe it,” Akasaka was quoted by Nikkan Sports (Apr. 22). “Is this really the final result? It feels like I locked it up…this is big news for the end of Heisei Era.”
Voters apparently were not swayed by a recent scandal involving Akasaka. A female supporter alleged that he raped her at his residence in April, 2016 while she was heavily intoxicated.
After she revealed the incident to a weekly tabloid, police sent Akasaka to prosecutors last August. Three months later, prosecutors announced the non-prosecution of Akasaka. No reason for the non-prosecution was given.
After a 25-year stint at trading company Itochu Corp., Akasaka became a politician. On numerous occasions, he has entered the Tokyo gubernatorial election as a candidate of the Smile Party. During campaign speeches, he is often attired in a costume, including that of Superman or Santa Claus.
Akasaka said previously that Sunday’s election would be his last, win or lose. His campaign poster read, “I ❤️ Minato Ward.”
Certainly, he was grinning early Monday. “Smile!!!” he exclaimed on Twitter.