A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Tsukuba Mayor Kenichi Ichihara Announces he will NOT run for 4th Term


Kenichi Ichihara

After 12 years in office as mayor of Tsukuba City, Kenichi Ichihara has announced that he will not run for a 4th term – read more and find out why.


By Avi Landau

Back in November 2004, Kenichi Ichihara defeated the incumbent Masakazu Fujisawa (mayor of Tsukuba for two terms 1996-2004, and grandson of the “Father of Tsukuba” Kanbei Fujisawa). He then went on to be re-elected 2 times – so if my calculations are correct he has been the mayor of Tsukuba for 3 consecutive terms. That means twelve years. Since his family is in the construction business, he has been able to do pretty well for himself (and his buddies) over this period – especially since Tsukuba is one of the only places in Japan (besides Tokyo and Osaka) that has been growing steadily over the past 12 years.

But last year (2015), it seems that his luck ran out. In August, an extravagant sporting facility he had been promoting (to be built on his land) was rejected by 80 percent of the Tsukuba residents who voted in a referendum on the issue. Then in September, the poo-poo really hit the fan for him. One of the country`s more influential “weekly magazines” ran a story (with photos) of the mayor enjoying a tryst with his beautiful mistress in Hawaii ( in my opinion the article must have been revenge carried out by people who had given him “gifts” to garrantee they`d be getting contracts to work on the sporting complex project). Anonymous senders sent out copies of the article to each of Tsukuba`s traditional villages – in case they hadn`t heard the news.

So after years of having everything go his way – and getting to have his photo all over Tsukuba (like a third-world dictator) he found himself rejected by 80 of Tsukuba`s citizens, his friends in construction, and almost certainly by his wife.

And that`s why he has announced that he will not run for a 4th term.

No Sato Yama

More than anything else, my biggest problem with Mayor Ichihara is his environmental policy. While promoting Tsukuba as a “City of Greenery” (which it WAS) he has given the go-ahead to have most of Tsukuba`s forests and woods turned into shopping centers and housing developments. We once actually said: “In Tsukuba, we don`t need wooded areas (SATO YAMA). This photo shows the once vast Konda Woods after they had been cleared.

After having heard that he would not be seeking a 4th term, I have been asking everyone I meet if they could think of one good thing that Mr Ichihara has done for Tsukuba – or one good point about him personally – Disappointingly no one has been able to provide me yet with that single point. But I really do want to be able to write one good thing about him – so if you can think of something please sent it in to TsukuBlog.

And if you`d like to know why he really is not the right man to be the Mayor of the Tsukuba Science City, please read my previous post!


An article claiming that Mayor Ichihara was meeting his mistress in Hawaii. This was printed just after a huge construction project he had been promoting had been rejected in a referendum. Could these photos have been fed to the press by certain characters associated with the construction business who were disappointed that the work they had been promised was not going to come through?



A flyer anouncing a referendum to be held on a construction project long promoted by Mayor Ichihara. The project was rejected by 80 percent of those who voted.



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