|Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies|
24 November 2017 – 21 October 2021
|Leader of Freedom and Direct Democracy|
|Assumed office |
4 August 2015
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Leader of Dawn of Direct Democracy|
1 July 2013 – 5 May 2015
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Marek Černoch|
|Member of the Chamber of Deputies|
|Assumed office |
26 October 2013
|Senator from Zlín|
20 October 2012 – 26 October 2013
|Preceded by||Jana Juřenčáková|
|Succeeded by||Patrik Kunčar|
|Born||4 July 1972|
|Political party||Dawn of Direct Democracy|
Freedom and Direct Democracy
|Relatives||Hayato Okamura (brother)|
Osamu Okamura (brother)
Tomio Okamura (岡村 富夫, Okamura Tomio, born 4 July 1972) is a Czech far-right politician and entrepreneur of Moravian Wallachian, Japanese and Korean ethnicity. He founded the Czech political parties Dawn of Direct Democracy and Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD). Since October 2013, he has been Member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic (MP), initially for Dawn of Direct Democracy and then from May 2015 for SPD (styled "SPD - Tomio Okamura"), of which he is also leader. He previously served as an independent Senator for Zlín district from October 2012 until his election to the Chamber of Deputies a year later.
Early life and background
Okamura was born in Tokyo. His mother, Helena Okamura, born Holíková, a native of Moravian Wallachia, had moved there in 1966 following her marriage to Okamura's half-Japanese, half-Korean father, Matsu Okamura. Tomio Okamura lived in Japan for the first ten years of his life before his mother returned with her sons to Czechoslovakia. He spent a part of his childhood in a children's home in Mašťov in the Usti nad Labem Region, where he was severely bullied, causing him to have a stutter until the age of 22. After leaving primary school he went on to study chemistry.
During his childhood he worked as a popcorn seller at a cinema in Japan.
He started his business career in 1994 mainly focused on the travel and gastronomy industries. He also started publishing a quarterly Pivní magazín ("Beer Magazine"). He is the author or co-author of several books. His book Tomio Okamura – Český sen ("Tomio Okamura - The Czech Dream") became a top 10 best-seller in the Czech Republic in 2010. In Spring 2011 his second book Umění vládnout ("The Art of Governance") was published. In 2012 he wrote a book Umění žít ("The Art of Living"). In 2013 he wrote two books – Umění přímé demokracie ("The Art of Direct Democracy") and Velká japonská kuchařka ("The Great Japanese Cookbook").
Okamura has links with a number of businesses including the Association of Czech Travel Agencies (Czech: Asociace českých cestovních kanceláří a agentur, AČCKA), where he was spokesman and vice-president. Other businesses Okamura has run include travel agent Miki travel and food shop Japa.
In June 2012, Okamura, known previously as an advocate of direct democracy, announced his candidacy for the 2012 Czech Senate election as an independent candidate in Zlín. In the October election, Okamura led after the first round with 30% of the vote. Okamura won in a run-off against Stanislav Mišák, taking 66% of the vote and winning a seat in the Senate on 20 October 2012.
In February 2013 Okamura was among a group of senators to sign a proposal to prosecute president Vaclav Klaus for high treason, regarding the amnesty announced by Klaus on finishing his term. The proposal was rejected by the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic. Okamura also supported the constitutional amendment to abolish lifelong immunity for public officials. His Senatorial term expired on his election to the Chamber of Deputies, after he had served in the Senate for one year and six days.
2013 Presidential candidacy
Immediately following his election to the Senate, Okamura announced his intention to stand in the 2013 presidential election. Okamura's campaign submitted a list of 61,500 signatures. However, on 23 November 2012, the Ministry of Interior announced that only 35,750 signatures could be validated, and his candidacy was therefore refused. He appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court, which ruled that the Ministry of Interior had made an error while counting the signatures. Okamura appealed to the Ministry to re-calculate the signatures individually, rather than by estimation, but the appeal was denied.
In reaction to this verdict, Okamura announced that it was a "political decision", and questioned the independence of the judiciary. Rejecting the verdict of the Constitutional Court, Okamura denounced the verdict as unfair and claimed that it was not possible to obtain justice in the Czech Republic.
Dawn of Direct Democracy
In the 2013 parliamentary elections his party — Tomio Okamura's Dawn of Direct Democracy — obtained 342,339 votes (6.88%) and gained 14 seats. His previous senatorial mandate expired as a result of his election as a member of parliament.
Movement of Freedom and Direct Democracy
In May 2015 Okamura founded a new political grouping in the Czech Chamber of Deputies, Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), a hard Eurosceptic, anti-immigration, and pro-direct democracy party. The SPD is allied to the French National Rally via the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom European parliamentary alliance.
Okamura has two brothers; his older brother, Hayato, is an interpreter and translator, and in 2015 joined KDU-ČSL, standing for that party in Prague in the subsequent legislative elections in 2017. His younger brother Osamu is an architect and university teacher. He has a son named Ruy from his three-year marriage to a Japanese woman.
In January 2012, when he was 40 years old, it was reported that Okamura was dating a 20-year-old Czech student.
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- Tait, Robert (2017-12-15). "Far right to gather in Prague as fears grow of rising Czech populism". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
- "Far-right scores surprise success in Czech election". Reuters. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
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- Okamura, Tomio (30 November 2012). "Online interview with Tomio Okamura". Tn.cz. Archived from the original on 2012-11-27. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- Bořil, Martin (3 June 2012). "Okamura bude kandidovat do Senátu, kvůli matce si vybral Zlín" [Okamura will run for the Senate, he chose Zlín because of his mother]. idnes.cz (in Czech). Mladá fronta DNES. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Bartoníček, Radek. "Tomio v Bystřici vyhrává volby, Hayata zná málokdo. Bratr je extrém, říká místním nejstarší Okamura", Aktuálně.cz, Prague, 22 September 2017. Retrieved on 25 April 2019.
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- Dvořák, Jan (10 May 2011). "Politika není špinavá, špinavý může být jen politik, říká Tomio Okamura" [Politics isn't dirty, only politicians can be dirty, says Tomio Okamura]. idnes.cz (in Czech). Mladá fronta DNES. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Velinger, Jan (16 January 2011). "The good, the bad & the ugly in the dragon's den". radio.cz. Czech Radio. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- "Den D – Investoři – III. řada". Ceska Televize. Czech Television. 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
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- "Seznam 28 senátorů, kteří žalují Klause za velezradu. Podívejte se" [List of the 28 Senators, who voted to sue Klaus for treason]. lidovky.cz. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- Senát PČR: 6. schůze, 6. hlasování, 20.03.2013, 22. 3. 2013, senat.cz
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- Jiřička, Jan (6 November 2012). "Česko zná všechny kandidáty na prezidenta. Jakl a Švejnar neprošli". iDNES.cz. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- "Rozhodnutí o odmítnutí kandidátní listiny" (in Czech). Czech Ministry of the Interior. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
- Koděra, Petr (13 December 2012). "Bobošíková má cestu na Hrad volnou, Okamura a Dlouhý zvažují stížnost k Ústavnímu soudu". iHNed.cz. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- "Okamura registers new anti-immigrant party Freedom and Direct Democracy". spd.cz. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- Nordsieck, Wolfram (2017). "Czechia". Parties and Elections in Europe.
- demokracie, SPD - Svoboda a přímá. "Program - SPD - Svoboda a přímá demokracie". www.spd.cz.
- "Volby do Poslanecké sněmovny Parlamentu České republiky konané ve dnech 20.10. – 21.10.2017". ČSU. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
- "Parlamentní volby 2017 - rozdělení křesel". E15. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
- "Druhý Okamura ve Sněmovně? Chci očistit naše jméno, říká Tomiův bratr Hayato". Lidovky.cz. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
- Herrmannová, Nela (22 January 2012). "Tomio Okamura: S přítelkyní jsme si první dva měsíce jen psali" [Tomio Okamura: My girlfriend and I only wrote to each other for the first two months]. idnes.cz (in Czech). Mladá fronta DNES. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Hloušek, Vít; Kopeček, Lubomír; Vodová, Petra (2020). The Rise of Entrepreneurial Parties in European Politics. Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-030-41916-5.
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