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Indian-origin 'Yogi' wins ward assembly elections in Japan

Press Trust of India  |  Tokyo 

A 41-year-old Indian-origin Japanese, who goes by the nickname "Yogi", has been elected to Tokyo's Ward assembly, becoming the first Indian to win an election in

Puranik Yogendra, a naturalised Japanese, secured 6,477 votes, the fifth highest of the 226,561 valid ballots cast, in the April 21 poll, part of unified local elections held across Japan, the reported.

"I want to be a bridge between Japanese and foreigners," said Yogi, who was backed by the Constitutional

Ward has the highest number of Indian residents among Tokyo's 23 wards with 4,300 or so Indian nationals registered, accounting for more than 10 per cent of Indians living in Over 34,000 Indians live in Japan. The Ward also has a large number of Chinese and Koreans.

"This is the first-ever victory of a naturalised Japanese of Indian origin in elections in Japan. This is also a recognition of contributions made by Indians towards the Japanese society," Shamshad Khan, the of Changing Dynamics of India-Japan Relations, told

first arrived in Japan in 1997 when he was a university student in He returned two years later to study, and in 2001 came back to work as an He later worked for a and other companies, and has resided in Edogawa Ward since 2005, the paper said.

"Japan is neat and everyone was kind," said, recalling his early experiences.

felt his ties with Japan strengthen after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster while visiting affected areas on weekends to cook curry with Indian friends from Edogawa Ward to share with victims, the paper said.

It was during these trips and chatting with Japanese while preparing that Yogi felt a strong affinity with this country.

"I felt the time had come for me to become Japanese," Yogi said.

He acquired Japanese nationality the following year and pursued a career in politics.

"I want to be an who can connect everyone regardless of nationality, age, or even disabilities, through my 20 years of living in Japan," Yogi said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 23 2019. 16:05 IST