translated and edited by Brett Larner
Like his running, Saitama's civil servant runner is set to take his moniker to the next level. Having renewed his assignment as an office worker at Kasukabe High School for the fiscal year beginning Apr. 1, at a press conference on Mar. 29 Yuki Kawauchi, 26, announced that he will run for governor of Saitama in the upcoming prefectural elections. "I want to do my best for all the people of Saitama," Kawauchi told reporters.
Although he has been courted by leaders of various political parties throughout his rise to fame as Saitama's leading citizen over the last two years, Kawauchi will run as an independent. "Political parties serve a role for people who can't think for themselves or like to follow others, but that's not who I am," Kawauchi said. "I think there are a lot of other people like me and I want to show them that they have a voice too." Polling in Saitama following his announcement indicated widespread support for Kawauchi. Among adults 20 or older, 81.4% of respondents said they favor his entry into the race.
Kawauchi's announcement has caused consternation among Japan's major political parties, not least of all for current governor Kiyoshi Ueda, 64, a former member of the Democratic Party of Japan who currently sits as an independent. A longtime Kawauchi supporter, Ueda famously dubbed him 'the Rocky of the marathon world' following Kawauchi's breakthrough run at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon. "He's got his way of doing things and we want to respect that, but we have to see if there isn't someplace that we can compromise," commented Ueda. "I have to have a one-on-one meeting with him to make sure he understands the election procedure."
If elected, Kawauchi says he intends to keep working in the Kasukabe H.S. office and to continue his marathon career. He is a favorite to make the Japanese marathon team for August's Moscow World Championships. "I'm going to do everything I can to meet my competitors on the starting line in the best condition possible!" Kawauchi said. His next race is the Apr. 7 Satte Sakura 10 Mile Road Race in Satte, Saitama.
Update: This was an April Fools' Day joke. Kawauchi is not running for governor of Saitama. Yet.