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Posts minister Yashiro is 'representative of disabled'.

TOKYO, Oct. 5 Kyodo

Newly appointed Posts and Telecommunications Minister Eita Yashiro is proud to be the "representative of the disabled" in parliament.

Yashiro, who is disabled himself and uses a wheelchair, launched the Fukushito (welfare party) in 1977 and was elected to the House of Councillors in the same year.

His entry into parliament helped change legislators' views on the disabled -- and also led to the Diet toilets being altered to allow use by people using wheelchairs.

In 1973, Yashiro -- then a Yamanashi Broadcasting System announcer/director-turned TV personality -- fell from the stage and suffered injuries that left him crippled.

Half a year later, he made a successful TV comeback. But his awareness of the inadequacy of facilities for the disabled at that time led him to enter politics.

He served as a member of the upper chamber for 18 years, but switched to the House of Representatives in the 1996 election and is serving his first term in the lower house.

During his second term as an upper house member, Yashiro left the Fukushito to join the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

In both the Diet and the LDP, he is known as a vocal figure representing the interests of the disabled.

Yashiro, 62, a native of Yamanashi, belongs to the LDP faction led by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Oct 11, 1999
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