Kada Yukiko campaign poster in 2006
Shiga Prefecture’s Governor KADA Yukiko announced on Feb. 16, 2010 that she will run for a second term as governor of Shiga. She made the announcement at Shiga Prefecture’s legislative assembly in Otsu.
Her first four-year term as Shiga governor will end this summer when gubernatorial elections will be held. She seeks wide support among the people of Shiga without relying on any single political party. She plans to draw up a manifesto for her second term while incorporating the opinions of the people of Shiga. She plans to meet with various organizations in Shiga for feedback.
While the Japanese Communist Party plans to field a candidate for Shiga governor, the other major parties have not yet announced plans to field a candidate. Any candidate will have an uphill battle against Kada who is quite popular in Shiga. People affectionately call her “Kada-chan.”
The 59-year-old Kada is Shiga’s first female governor. Four years ago in 2006, her campaign slogan was, “Mottai nai” which means “Wasteful,” in reference to wasteful spending for unnecessary public works projects such as the shinkansen bullet train station in Ritto. This clicked with voters and helped her defeat incumbent governor Kunimatsu Yoshitsugu who was in favor of the shinkansen station. Kunimatsu happened to be a native of Ritto and the Ritto mayor was also his cousin, Kunimatsu Shoichi (still the Ritto mayor).
Kada kept her campaign promise and had the shinkansen train station in Ritto scrapped. This greatly disappointed the Ritto mayor, but most people in Shiga were opposed to the shinkansen station which would’ve been too close to Kyoto Station. Ritto is also not a major population center. (Shiga already has a shinkansen station in Maibara.)
Before becoming governor, Kada was a professor at Kyoto Seika University and a curator at Lake Biwa Museum in Kusatsu. I once met her briefly and found her to be very down-to-earth and easy to talk to. She could easily be your best friend’s mom. Although we foreigners cannot vote, Governor Kada has my support.
ITO Miki, native of Hino, Shiga Prefecture, placed 12th in the finals of the women’s freestyle moguls competition at the Vancouver Winter Olympics on Feb. 14, 2010. She looked quite happy after doing her run down the moguls hill. Obviously she did her best. (Didn’t fall or anything like Satoya Tae who placed 19th.)
All four of Japan’s freestyle mogul women skiers had passed the qualification round. A tearful UEMURA Aiko came in 4th, narrowly missing the bronze medal. However, she did better than last time at Turin when she placed 5th. I bet Uemura will try again at her 5th winter Olympics.
Some 400 people gathered at a community hall in Hino to watch and cheer Ito on a large TV screen.
Congrats to Miki for a good experience.
Ito Miki returned to Japan early from Vancouver and visited Hino Town Hall in Shiga Prefecture on Feb. 23. She was welcomed by almost 100 people including the mayor of Hino. She thanked everyone for their cheering and support and commented that although she did not attain an outstanding result, she was happy to have skied her best. Her 12th place finish is an improvement over her 20th place finish at the Turin Olympics in 2006.
Among Japan’s athletes competing in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, two are from Shiga Prefecture.
ITO Miki (伊藤みき) hails from Hino, Shiga and Vancouver is her second Winter Olympics after Torino. She will compete in the freestyle skiing mogul event along with media darling Uemura Aiko. Born in 1987, Miki attended elementary and junior high school in Hino and graduated from the Omi Kyodaisha (Omi Brotherhood) Senior High School in Omi-Hachiman.
She placed 20th in Torino in 2006, but she’s looking much better now. Since she’s not getting much media attention (spotlight is always on Uemura), she has less pressure and may well deliver an outstanding result. (Japanese athletes often seem to perform best when they are not under the media spotlight.) She’s a student at Chukyo University in Nagoya and has two sisters who are also mogul skiers. Miki has been a competitive skier since 1996 (age 9).
The second Winter Olympian from Shiga is OKADA Rana (岡田 良菜), a native of Otsu. Born in 1991, she is a snowboarder competing in the halfpipe event. Encouraged by her parents, she started snowboarding while in the 2nd grade, and entered her first halfpipe contest in junior high. During the 2008-09 season, she won the All-Japan Championship. In Jan. 2009, she placed 8th at the FIS Snowboard World Championships. She is employed by a snowboard shop called Hood in Gifu Prefecture.
Their appearances will be broadcast on TV. The broadcast times will be listed here later.
Let’s wish them the best of luck, along with all the other athletes.
Ito Miki’s official profile in English:
Ito Miki’s Web site (in Japanese):
Okada Rana’s official profile in English:
Okada Rana’s Web site (in Japanese):