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Candidate, 94, uses funeral fund for Japan election

Published on Dec 14, 2012 5:03 PM
Mr Ryokichi Kawashima, a 94-year-old parliamentary election candidate, speaks in front of election campaign posters including his own poster on a street during an interview with Reuters in Hanyu, north of Tokyo on Dec 12, 2012. Kawashima took 3 million yen (S$43,729) from the sum saved for his funeral and just three hours before the deadline, he became the oldest contender for Sunday's election to the lower house of parliament. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HANYU, Japan (AFP) - A 94-year-old man who cashed in his funeral savings to use as an election deposit was out canvassing for votes on Friday, just two days ahead of Japan's general election.

Mr Ryokichi Kawashima, the oldest candidate in the race for the lower house this Sunday, says he felt he had to get involved in politics to stop the younger generation making such a mess of things.

"I'm running on behalf of the weak," Mr Kawashima, one of 1,504 candidates vying for 480 seats in the House of Representatives, said in Hanyu north of Tokyo on Friday.

He said he had been motivated to come out of retirement by worries over right-leaning candidates like former conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 58, and former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, who is 80.

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