15:00-16:00 Thursday, July 18, 2013
Leader of the Happiness Realization Party
The Happiness Realization Party (Kofuku Jitsugen To) may be one of the lesser known political parties in the upcoming election, but it is fielding candidates in all of the 47 electoral districts across Japan. It is also one of 12 political parties whose name is on the ballot in the proportional representation segment.
Founded in May 2009 by Ryuho Okawa, prominent leader of the religious movement Happy Science (Kofuku no Kagaku), the party aims to offer the Japanese people "a third option."
Its political stance is, in short, very hawkish. It calls for strengthening national defense, saying the imminent problem the country faces today is the military expansion of its neighbors. It also calls for economic growth and canceling the consumption tax hike.
It even has its own version of a reformed Constitution, which calls for the installment of a President directly elected by the people as head of state.
The party's leader, Hissho Yanai, 51, is a former journalist working for Asahi Shimbun for four years before joining Happy Science at the age of 30. He headed the publishing section of the organization in 2011 and became the party leader in December 2012.
Yanai, who is a candidate in the proportional representation segment himself, will talk about how his party wants to change Japan.