The Japan Times: “Yogendra ‘Yogi’ Puranik: The first Indian voice in Tokyo politics”

Megha Wadhwa on the first Indian-born member of the legislative assembly in Edogawa-ku:

“My key slogan is that I am going to be the bridge between the Japanese and the foreigners,” Puranik explains. “When I say bridge, I want to have a definite schedule of some initiatives through which Japanese and non-Japanese people can actually come together. One thing is creating inter-cultural interaction between the migrants and the hosts. The second thing that I am focusing on is more of a structured education-orientation as to how non-Japanese can live better in Japan and how Japanese can feel about the non-Japanese.”

As Japan opens its doors cautiously to more foreign labor, Puranik realizes its people will have to open their minds to cultural difference, but he says the new arrivals also have responsibilities.

“There will be things even Japanese would also have to change from a global perspective, and the non-Japanese will have to change from a Japanese perspective — ‘ayumiyori,’ as we say in Japanese, meaning that both sides have to walk a bit toward the center.”