Tomio Okamura

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Tomio Okamura
MP
Tomio Okamura in 2012.JPG
Leader of Freedom and Direct Democracy
Assumed office
4 August 2015
Preceded by Position established (split from Dawn)
Leader of Dawn of Direct Democracy
In office
1 July 2013 – 5 May 2015
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Marek Černoch
Member of Parliament
for Central Bohemian Region
Assumed office
26 October 2013
Senator from Zlín
In office
20 October 2012 – 26 October 2013
Preceded by Jana Juřenčáková
Succeeded by Patrik Kunčar
Personal details
Born (1972-07-04) July 4, 1972 (age 45)
Tokyo, Japan
Political party Dawn of Direct Democracy
(2013–2015)
Freedom and Direct Democracy
(2015–present)
Signature
Website www.tomio.cz

Tomio Okamura (岡村 富夫, Okamura Tomio, born 4 July 1972[1]) is a CzechJapanese entrepreneur, writer and politician. He is the founder of the political parties Dawn of Direct Democracy and Freedom and Direct Democracy. Since October 2013 he has been a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Central Bohemian Region, initially for Dawn of Direct Democracy and then from May 2015 for Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), 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[edit]

Born in Tokyo to a half-Japanese, half-Korean father, and a Moravian mother from the Zlín region,[2] Okamura came to Czechoslovakia for the first time when he was six years old. He spent 10 years in Japan in total. He spent part of his childhood in a children's home in Mašťov near Podbořany where he experienced bullying, causing him to have a stutter until he was 20 years old.

In his youth he worked as a dustman and later a popcorn seller at a cinema in Japan.[3] Okamura is fluent in Czech and Japanese.

Business career[edit]

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.[4] 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 Big 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.[3] Other businesses Okamura has run include travel agent Miki travel and food shop Japa.[3]

Okamura has been a judge on the Czech version of British BBC television programme Dragons' Den, known as Den D.[5]

He has also served as a patron of the Endangered Children Fund (Czech: Fond ohrožených dětí, FOD).

Political career[edit]

Senate[edit]

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.[2] In the election, held in October, Okamura led after the first round of voting with over 30% of the vote.[6] Okamura won in a run-off against Stanislav Mišák, taking more than 66% of the vote and winning a seat in the Senate on 20 October 2012.[6][7]

As a Senator, in February 2013 he 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 term14. 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.16 His Senatorial term expired on his election to the Chamber of Deputies.

2013 Presidential candidacy[edit]

Immediately following his victory in the election to the Senate, Okamura announced his intention to run for office in the 2013 Czech presidential election.[7][8] Okamura's campaign submitted a list of 61,500 signatures19. 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[edit]

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[edit]

In May 2015 Okamura founded a new political grouping in the Czech chamber of deputies named the Movement of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD). After registration, Okamura's SPD attracted 9,000 membership applications in the first three months, making the movement one of the largest political organisations in the Czech Republic.[citation needed]

The movement's stated political positions include patriotism, direct democracy, defence of the national interest against the EU, tightening of immigration laws and removing support for what it describes as maladjusted groups. Their other policies include: decent living conditions for seniors; extra support for families with children; rejection of any increase in tax; direct referenda and recall legislation; and criminal responsibility of politicians.

The Movement of Freedom and Direct Democracy is allied to the French Front National, and states support for an alternative political vision for Europe consisting of co-operation between nations, rather than a European superstate.

Personal life[edit]

In January 2012, it was reported that Okamura was dating a 20-year-old Czech student.[9] He has a son named Ruy from his three-year marriage to a Japanese woman. He has two brothers: Hayato, an older brother working as an interpreter and translator, and Osamu, a younger brother working as an architect and university teacher.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tomio Okamura - Profile on website of the Chamber of Deputies". Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b 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. 
  3. ^ a b c Žižková, Markéta (20 October 2012). "Zloději se nám smějí do ksichtu, je čas na změnu, cílí Okamura na Hrad". lidovky.cz (in Czech). Lidové noviny. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Velinger, Jan (16 January 2011). "The good, the bad & the ugly in the dragon’s den". radio.cz. Czech Radio. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Výsledky hlasování - volby.cz". volby.cz. 
  7. ^ a b Procházková, Petra; Libiger, Milan (20 October 2012). "Podnikatel Okamura se stal senátorem, teď chce dobýt Hrad" [Entrepreneur Okamura becomes senator, now wants to conquer the castle]. idnes.cz (in Czech). Mladá fronta DNES. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Okamurovi škrtli 26 tisíc podpisů, dál nejde ani Bobošíková a Dlouhý". iDNES.cz. 23 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Herrmannová, Nela (22 January 2012). "Tomio Okamura: S přítelkyní jsme si první dva měsíce jen psali" [Tomio Okamura: me and my girlfriend had only written to each other during the first two months]. idnes.cz (in Czech). Mladá fronta DNES. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 

External links[edit]