Ai Aoki (politician)

Ai Aoki (青木 愛, Aoki Ai, born August 18, 1965) is a Japanese politician and current member of the People's Life Party. She is a native of Tokyo and graduate of Chiba University. After a career in education, Aoki entered politics in 2003 and has served a total of four terms in the national Diet of Japan, having sat in the House of Representatives from 2003–2005 and 2009–2014, and a partial term in the House of Councillors from 2007–2009. Aoki was returned to the House of Councillors in the election held on 10 July 2016.

Ai Aoki
青木 愛
Member of the House of Councillors
Assumed office
July 2016
Preceded byRyoko Tani
ConstituencyNational
In office
July 2007  18 August 2009
Succeeded byTadashi Hirono
ConstituencyNational
Chairperson of the House of Representatives' Special Committee on Consumer Affairs
In office
24 January 2012  10 July 2012
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
December 2012  December 2014
ConstituencyTokyo proportional representation block
In office
August 2009  December 2012
Preceded byAkihiro Ota
Succeeded byAkihiro Ota
ConstituencyTokyo 12th district
In office
October 2003  September 2005
ConstituencySouthern Kanto proportional representation block
Personal details
Born (1965-08-18) August 18, 1965
Tokyo, Japan
Political partyDPP
Other political
affiliations
Liberal (2001–2003)
Democratic (2003–2012)
People's Life First (2012)
Tomorrow (2012)
Liberal (2014-2019)
EducationMaster of Education
Alma materChiba University
Websitewww.aoki-ai.com

Education and pre-politics career

Aoki was born in Tokyo and was raised in the town of Chikura, Chiba Prefecture. She graduated from Awa High School in 1984 and gained a bachelor's degree in education from Chiba University in 1988. She later obtained a master's degree in education from the university in 1999.[1]

After graduating university Aoki was active as a singer-songwriter, releasing a total of six singles between 1989 and 1998, and an album titled Doko-e Iku-no (何処へ行くの, Where [will you] go?) in 1991. After completing her master's degree she gained employment at a kindergarten in Chikura.[1]

Political career

House of Representatives (2003–2005)

Aoki's father is a former member of the Chikura town assembly.[1] In 2001 Aoki sought entry into the Ozawa Ichiro Seiji Juku, a cram school for aspiring politicians operated by Ichiro Ozawa, but was unable to enroll due to being one year over the school's upper age limit of 35.[1] Despite this, Aoki received Ozawa's recommendation and joined the Liberal Party, a party founded by Ozawa three years earlier.[1] In September 2003 the Liberal Party merged into the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and Aoki contested the Chiba 12th district as a DPJ candidate at the October 2003 general election. Aoki received 40.8% of the vote but lost to the incumbent Liberal Democratic Party member Yasukazu Hamada, who received 53.9%.[2] The DPJ received 40 per cent of the vote in the Southern Kanto proportional representation block, entitling them to nine of the 22 seats in the block. Aoki's comparatively low margin of defeat meant she gained the DPJ's final seat in block.[3] In the 2005 general election Aoki again contested the Chiba 12th district against Hamada, this time losing by more than 50,000 votes[4] and failing to retain her seat in the proportional representation block.[5] During her two years in the House of Representatives Aoki served on the Committee on Health, Welfare and Labour,[6] Committee on Education, Culture and Science[7] and the Research Commission on the Constitution.[8]

House of Councillors (2007–2009)

After losing her seat in the lower house of the Diet, Aoki turned her attention to contesting the July 2007 House of Councillors election. She ran in the National Block, where the DPJ won 20 of the 48 seats with 39.5% of the vote. Aoki personally received 297,034 votes, third-highest within the party and 13th highest overall.[9] Whilst a councillor Aoki served on the Committee on Education, Culture and Science,[10] Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Committee on House Rules and Administration and the Special Committee on Disasters.[11] Aoki was also a part of the Education, Culture and Science department within the DPJ's shadow cabinet.[12]

In July 2009, whilst still in the second year of her six-year term as a Councillor, Aoki nominated as a candidate for the Tokyo 12th district in the August 2009 general election, thereby automatically losing her seat in the House of Councillors; she was replaced by fellow DPJ candidate Tadashi Hirono.[13]

House of Representatives (2009–2014)

In the election Aoki defeated Akihiro Ota, the incumbent member and leader of the Komeito party, by more than 10,000 votes.[14] This election brought the DPJ into power for the first time, and Aoki served in roles including as a director of the House's Committee on Health, Welfare and Labour[15] and a director of the House's Committee on Fundamental National Policies.[16] In September 2009 Ozawa became Secretary-General of the DPJ and the following month he announced Aoki as one of his deputies.[17] In June 2010 friction between Ozawa and party president and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama led to both men resigning from their roles in order to give the party a "clean start".[18] On 13 June five Ozawa faction members resigned from their positions within the party, including Aoki who resigned as Deputy Secretary-General.[19]

On 24 January 2012 Aoki was selected as the Chairperson of the House's Special Committee on Consumer Affairs.[20] On 2 July 2012 Aoki was one of fifty DPJ Diet members, led by Ozawa, to resign from the party after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda publicly announced as policy a plan to increase the national consumption tax.[21] A week later 37 members including Aoki and Ozawa were officially expelled from the DPJ for voting against the tax bills.[22] Aoki resigned from the role of Committee Chairperson on 10 July[20] and the next day became one of the founding members of Ozawa's new People's Life First Party, which merged with other minor parties in November 2012 to form the Tomorrow Party of Japan.[20]

In the December 2012 general election which removed the DPJ from power, Aoki contested the Tokyo 12th district as a Tomorrow Party candidate, losing to Ota by 47,000 votes.[23] In the Tokyo proportional representation block, the Tomorrow Party received 6.9% of the vote, granting the party one of 17 seats in the block. As Aoki's defeat was the smallest suffered by the Tomorrow Party's 17 candidates in Tokyo, Aoki received the block seat and remained in the House of Representatives.[24] The party's poor showing in the election led to the party's dissolution shortly after, and Aoki was one of fifteen Tomorrow Party Diet members who joined Ozawa in his new party, the People's Life Party.[25] As a People's Life Party member Aoki again served in the House of Representatives' Committee on Education, Culture and Science, the Special Committee on Consumer Affairs and the Special Committee on Promotion of Science and Technology, and Innovation.[26]

In the December 2014 general election Aoki ran as a People's Life candidate and finished third in the Tokyo 12th district behind Ota and Japanese Communist Party candidate Saori Ikeuchi.[27] The party received only 2.7% of the vote in the Tokyo proportional representation block, not enough for one of the seventeen seats, meaning Aoki was left without a seat in the Diet for the first time in nine years.[28]

Return to House of Councillors (2016–present)

In June 2016 Aoki sought a return to the House of Councillors, receiving the People's Life Party's number one ballot spot for the National Block at the July 2016 upper house election.[29] The People's Life Party received 1.9% of the vote in the National Block, entitling the party to one of the 48 seats being contested. Aoki received 68.9% of the votes cast for the party's five candidates, meaning she was awarded the party's seat.[30]

References

  1. 政治家情報 〜青木 愛〜 [Politician information – Ai Aoki]. ザ・選挙 (in Japanese). JANJAN. Archived from the original on 30 September 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  2. 平成15年11月9日執行 衆議院議員・小選挙区選挙 開票調 [9 November 2003 House of Representatives – Single-member District Results] (in Japanese). Chiba Prefectural Electoral Commission. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  3. 比例代表区情報 [Proportional Representation Block Information] (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 30 July 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  4. 小選挙区 千葉 開票結果 総選挙2005 [Electoral districts Chiba Prefecture Results, General Election 2005] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  5. 比例代表 南関東ブロック 開票結果 総選挙2005 [PR Districts Southern Kanto Block Results, General Election 2005] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  6. 衆議院厚生労働委員会名簿 [House of Representatives Committee on Health, Welfare and Labour Member List] (PDF) (in Japanese). National Confederation of Trade Unions. 10 August 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  7. 第162回国会 文部科学委員会 第16号(平成17年8月3日(水曜日)) [162nd National Diet Committee on Education, Culture and Science 16th Meeting (3 August 2005 (Wednesday))] (in Japanese). House of Representatives. 3 August 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  8. "Digest of Proceedings – Research Commission on the Constitution". House of Representatives. 2 December 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  9. 比例代表 民主党 開票結果 参院選2007 [Representative Block DPJ Results, Councillors Election 2007] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  10. 第171回国会 文教科学委員会 第4号 [171st Diet Session Committee on Education, Culture and Science 4th Meeting] (in Japanese). House of Councillors. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  11. 参議院審議概要 第169回国会(常会)平成20年(2008年)1月18日~6月21日 [House of Councillors Overview, 169th Diet (Ordinary Session) 18 January – 21 June 2008] (PDF) (in Japanese). House of Councillors. pp. 254, 303, 311. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  12. 『次の内閣』文部科学部門 学力・体力調査、心のノート、教員免許更新制等6項目を事業仕分け ["Next Cabinet" Education, Culture and Science Department divides work into 6 areas including examination of academic and physical ability, heart notebooks, teacher licence renewal] (in Japanese). Democratic Party of Japan. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  13. 参議院議員選挙にかかる繰上補充 [Supplementary Election of House of Councillors Members] (in Japanese). Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  14. 東京 小選挙区 総選挙2009 [Tokyo Districts, General Election 2009] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  15. 第7号 平成21年12月4日 [7th Meeting – 4 December 2009] (in Japanese). 4 December 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  16. 第176回国会 国家基本政策委員会 第1号(平成22年10月19日(火曜日)) [176th National Diet Committee on Fundamental National Policies 1st Meeting (19 October 2010 (Tuesday))] (in Japanese). House of Representatives. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  17. 【政治】小沢ガールズ青木愛氏を副幹事長に起用 [[Politics] "Ozawa Girl" Ai Aoki Promoted to Deputy Secretary-General] (in Japanese). 8 October 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  18. Yoshikawa, Yuko (2 June 2010). 鳩山首相が辞任表明、小沢幹事長も辞意 [Hatoyama PM to Resign, Secretary General Ozawa Also Resigns] (in Japanese). Reuters. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  19. 民主、副幹事長も「脱小沢」 青木愛氏ら側近5人退任 [DPJ Deputy Secretaries-General also "Remove Ozawa" – 5 faction members including Aoki resign] (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 14 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  20. 平成24年 衆議院の動き 第20 号 [2012 House of Representatives Activity Vol. 20] (PDF) (in Japanese). March 2013. pp. 411, 490, 496. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  21. 【小沢氏ら50人離党届】週内にも新党結成 首相、除名処分へ [[50 including Ozawa submit resignation] New party to be formed within this week, PM to expel them] (in Japanese). News47. 2 July 2012. Archived from the original on 14 February 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  22. [政治]鳩山元首相、党員資格停止3カ月に短縮 小沢元代表ら37人除籍処分は原案通り 民主党臨時常任幹事会 [[Politics] DPJ emergency party meeting passes motions to reduce former PM Hatoyama's suspension by 3 months, expel 37 members including former leader Ozawa] (in Japanese). Sankei Shimbun. 9 July 2012. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  23. 東京 小選挙区 開票結果 総選挙2012 [Tokyo Districts Results, General Election 2012] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  24. 東京 【比例代表】 開票結果 総選挙2012 [Tokyo [PR Block] Results, General Election 2012] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  25. Tanaka, Nariyuki (27 December 2012). 未来:小沢氏また「壊党」 「母屋」乗っ取る形に [Tomorrow Party: Ozawa "Destroys Party" Again, Seizes the "Main Building"] (in Japanese). Mainichi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  26. 平成25年 衆議院の動き [2013 House of Representatives Activity Vol. 21] (PDF) (in Japanese). House of Representatives. March 2014. pp. 199, 393, 396. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  27. 開票結果・速報(小選挙区・東京) 衆院選2014 [Results (Districts – Tokyo) House of Representatives Election 2014] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  28. 開票結果・速報(比例・東京) 衆院選2014(衆議院選挙) [Results (PR Block – Tokyo) House of Representatives Election 2014] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  29. 青木愛(比例・生活)【参議院選挙2016】 [Ai Aoki (PR block, People's Life) [House of Councillors Election 2016]] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  30. 開票結果・速報 比例代表・生活の党と山本太郎となかまたち(生活)【参議院選挙2016】 [Results: National Block – People's Life Party [House of Councillors Election 2016]]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). 12 July 2016.
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