How a Tokyo-Born Outsider Became the Face of Czech Nationalism

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Tomio Okamura’s background is about as multicultural as you can get. The son of a Czech mother and a Japanese-Korean father, he lost racist bullying in Japan and the Czech Republic that was so severe he developed a stutter and wet his berth until persons under the age of 14.

Which may or may not help explain why his Czech political party is adamantly opposed to immigration, requires the country to leave the European Union and compares Islam to” Hitler-style Nazism .” The letter is resonating: Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy may become the fourth-strongest defendant in parliament after next week’s elections.

” We are living under a total EU dictatorship ,” the 45 -year-old politician was indicated in a saloon in Prague’s historical center.” Not even the Soviet Union dared to prescribe to us who should live here and who shouldn’t .”

Tomio Okamura

Photographer: Martin Divisek/ Bloomberg

The burgeoning appeal of the working party, known as SPD, mirrors the recent electoral surge of the nationalist AfD in neighboring Germany and the likelihood that Austria’s Freedom Party will become a part of the finding alliance after Sunday’s elections. In The eastern european states, far-right agendas are already representatives to Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party and the opponent Jobbik as well as Slovakia’s People’s Party, whose leader has openly admired the country’s World War II fascist regime.

In the Czech Republic, which consented only 12 out of the 1,600 refugees it was required to take in under the EU migrant redistribution system, the anti-immigrant rhetoric has spilled over to most political parties. Among them: the regulating Social Democrats and their faction marriage ANO, which precedes in ballots. In June, the EU launched infringement procedures against members Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for their opposition to awning refugees via the shared national quotas.

Okamura has accused Muslims of transmitting terrorism and proponents” zero tolerance” toward accepting asylum-seekers. He has urged locals to stop buying kebab and to persecute Muslims by moving pups and animals near the two mosques in the two countries of ten. 6 million. Hatem Berrezouga, a Tunisian tourism steer who has lived in Prague since 1998, blogged that such a posture was ” most ruffling in a democratic, law-abiding country .”

Okamura’s response:” I’m totally allergic to racism and xenophobia because I knowledge it first-hand ,” he said in his signature rapid-fire delivery, with no draws of the former stutter.” But Islam is not a hasten. It’s not even a religion. It’s an evil ideology .”

This rhetoric has curved him into a government pariah, rebuffed as a alliance spouse by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and ANO chairman and billionaire Andrej Babis. Still, if the SPD and the country’s Socialists fare as expected in Oct. 20 -2 1 elections, bloc talks may get involved. Okamura is scheduled to face off against Babis, who is favored to acquire the election, and a third party master in a national Tv conversation on Sunday.

” If the SPD truly get 9 percentage of the voting rights, it will no longer be possible to ignore it ,” said Kamil Svec, a political-science prof at Charles University in Prague.” Add the Communist, and a full fifth of the Parliament will represent acutely disenfranchised voters .”

When Okamura was five, their own families moved from Japan to a small town in what was then Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia. Due to family questions, he spent an integrated part of his childhood in an orphanage, where he developed a stutter because of the racist insults. He also said the bed-wetting impeded him from participating in ski tours and other school outings.

To escape the pervasive discrimination, he removed out of college and at 21 endeavoured to Japan, where the injustice intensified. Treated as a “half-breed,” he discontinued up running as a garbage collector and later exchanged popcorn at a movie theater. Eventually, he returned and became a successful tourism industrialist, gratifying to Asian sightseers seeing Czech castlings and spas.

Already a public figure thanks to his role as the spokesman of travel agents’ association, Okamura led for the presidency, unsuccessfully, before founding his first party, the Dawn of Direct Democracy, in 2013. Two years later, after internal tiffs within Dawn, he quit the formation to set up the SPD.

Despite Okamura’s zero risk of gaining strength, his party’s notoriety has risen in recent months to a range of 7 percentage to 9.2 percent and he’s currently the second-most popular defendant commander in the two countries, according to polls.

” I will vote for Okamura because I care about the safety of this country and my children ,” said Jaroslav Samek, 52, who was sipping a latte in a Starbucks in a suburban shopping center and moves a business importing cheese from Italy and France.” The EU isn’t fulfilling its basic purpose, which is to protect its citizens .”

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