With a Beaming Hope through the Tumultuous Days


When he turned 34 in 1973, Ueda decided to run for the House of Counselors. His campaign promise was to eliminate wars, prejudices and poverty, those evils that deprive people of dignity and life, and build a society free from want and fear. Pledging to fight for the cause of common people, he made his political activism go beyond the Buraku liberation movement. γ“c—γ‚ά‚·W‰ο

ŽQ‹c‰@‹cˆυ‘I‹“Œˆ‹NW‰ο In the 1974 election for the Osaka Electoral District of the House of Counselors, T.U. lost by a small margin with 700,000 votes, which was the largest number among all runners-up.

In 1973 Ueda created an organization that aimed to share experiences of Buraku liberation movement with and empower non-Buraku small business operators: the Osaka Association of Small Businesses (Chukiren), which was later renamed as gTigre.h He assumed the chair. From 1973 to 1975, the Association put up several outposts in Osaka and its neighboring cities such as Sakai, Higashi-Osaka, Kadoma, Yao and Tondabayashi. ’†Šι˜AŒ‹¬

‘ζ‚P‰ρ‚’‚Μ‚­‚ηŒ€‹†W‰ο T.U. also established in 1975 an organization called the gCitizensf Coalition for Better Life,h which served as a community-based consultant on issues that affected low-income people like housing, education, pension and health insurance.

In 1976, at the age of 38, Ueda ran for the House of Representatives. He contested a seat in the fourth Osaka District, and a gyoung tiger from Kawachi,h so he was nicknamed, won the race. T.U. served the 6th consecutive terms. (gKawachih is the name of the area where Ueda lived.) O‹c‰@‹cˆυ‰“–‘I

O‹c‰@‘ε‘ ˆΟ—Ž–A”C During his 16-year tenure as an MP, he served as a ranking member of the Cabinet Affairs Committee and the Finance Committee, and the Chair of the Special Committee on Okinawa and Hokkaido Affairs. In the Socialist Party to which he belonged, Ueda was appointed as the Chair of the Finance Commission. He was a deputy known not only among parliamentarians but also voters for activism on issues like human rights, small businesses and international solidarity.

In 1979, T.U. was elected Vice-President of the Osaka Prefectural Office of the Socialist Party, and in 1980 Deputy Director of the International Affairs of the Party. As a senior party officer in charge of international relations, in 1980 and 1981, he visited more than 15 countries in the Middle East and Asia including Libya, Lebanon, India and Vietnam. During this trip, Ueda met with President Arafat of the PLO. His international activism was motivated by the belief that peace and human rights are inseparable. ‚o‚k‚nƒAƒ‰ƒtƒ@ƒg‹c’·‚Ζ‰ο’k

“ϊƒ\e‘PƒIƒŠƒ“ƒsƒbƒNƒcƒA[ In 1980, as a sideline event to celebrate the first anniversary of the Osaka-Leningrad sister city relationship, T.U. organized an Olympics tour. Despite the governmentfs decision to boycott the Moscow Olympics, he chartered two Aeroflot planes which took 300 passengers from Osaka to Leningrad. There were no regular flights between the two cities at the time.

In 1981 he started the Japan-Soviet youth cruise program, which continued for a decade. His defiance and inventiveness helped alleviate the thorny relations between the two countries. “ϊƒ\ŒoΟƒVƒ“ƒ|ƒWƒEƒ€

ƒiƒzƒgƒJΒ”N‚Μ‘D Convinced of the need to promote citizens-level exchanges with the Soviet Union, Mongolia and China, T.U. set up the Japan International center for Friendship and Exchange (JIC) in 1982. The JIC, of which Ueda is President, has grown to be a prestigious non-governmental organization promoting exchange programs with Russia, Mongolia and China.

When Chukiren celebrated the 10th anniversary in 1983, T.U. organized a rally that was attended by 10,000 supporters. It was a kick-off event to launch a nationwide campaign to put up offices around the country. With the Tokyo head Office set up in 1980, Chukiren quickly reached out to key cities around Japan: Sapporo, Kagoshima, Aizuwakamatsu, Nagoya, Sendai, Hiroshima, Kanazawa, Nagasaki and others. ’†Šι˜A10Žό”N‹L”OW‰ο

ŽΠ‰ο“}Eo‘O‰‰ΰ‰ο On the political front, Ueda joined other reform-minded parliamentarians to start a circuit gSpeakersf Corner.h As the Secretary-General of this group, he opened makeshift gSpeakersf Cornersh in 60 places around the country. This unusual out-of-the-parliament activism by lawmakers drew public attention.

As a human rights activist, T.U. was one of the leaders who invited Rev. Jesse Jackson, a former Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States, to an international seminar on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which took place both in Tokyo and Osaka in 1986. It helped raise public awareness about international solidarity against discrimination. ƒWƒFƒV-EƒWƒƒƒNƒ\ƒ“–qŽt‚Ζ

’J”¨F•›‰ο’·‰“–‘I In the 1987 by-election of the House of Councilors, his secretary, Takashi Tanihata ran for the Osaka Prefectural District. Although he was unsuccessful in that election, he won a seat in the 1989 Upper House election. Under the Socialist-led coalition government headed by Tomiichi Murayama, he was appointed as Vice-Minister for International Trade and Industry. Tanihata was re-elected on the ticket of the Liberal Democratic Party in the 1996 election for the Lower House. He is now in the second term.

Misfortune befell T.U. in 1989. That year, a stock-for-favor bribery scandal rocked the nation. Among many who were suspected of taking bribes in the so-called gRecruit Scandalh was one of his secretaries. Although Ueda knew nothing of it, he resigned to take on the moral and political responsibility for the adjunctfs misbehavior. But he came back to the national politics when re-elected 15 months later. Upon returning he was immediately appointed to a ranking member of the Finance Committee. O‹c‰@˜Z‘I–Ϊ“–‘I

‘δ˜p–K–β In 1990, T.U. and four other MPs visited Taiwan. They met political leaders including the Foreign Minister, senior members of the Democratic Progressive Party and other ranking parliamentarians. As Ueda and the other four members belonged to the Socialist Party that was on better terms with mainland China, Taiwanese media extensively reported their visit to the island.

Also in 1991, T.U. headed a Chukirenfs mission to the economic special zones in China to see firsthand how reform and open-door policies were implemented. The delegation visited Haikou in Hainan Province, Zhuhai in Guangzhou Province, and Shenzhen. In the latter half of the same year, another group, which was joined by senior advisors to Chukiren, went to Shenzhen and agreed with the Chinese partner to open a Chukiren office. Later, the office served as an outpost to recruit business executives from Shanghai, Zhejiang Province and Fujian Province for field trips to Japan. ’†Šι˜AE’†‘Ž––±ŠŠJέ

“μƒAƒtƒŠƒJΔ–K–β T.U. represented the Socialist Party of Japan at a historic congress hosted by the ANC in 1991. It was held on South African soil for the first time in 32 years. Ueda met with President Oliver Tambo. Again in 1993, he returned to South Africa as Vice-President of the Japanese Parliamentarians League Against Apartheid. On this visit, he was joined by Takako Doi, Chair of the Socialist Party. They attended the International Solidarity Conference and visited black communities to learn about their economic and educational problems.

In 1992, as the then president of the Kansai supporters' group for the Oshima Stable of Sumo wrestlers, T.U. helped Oshima, the owner of the Stable, bring a few Mongolian amateur wrestlers to Japan. Among them were Kyokushuzan and Kyokutenho who are now ranked in senior classes of the Grand Sumo Wrestlers. They are popular wrestlers not only among Japanese fans but also Mongolian Sumo-lovers. ƒ‚ƒ“ƒSƒ‹Β”N—ΝŽm‚Μ‹΄“n‚΅

“ϊƒŒoΟƒVƒ“ƒ|ƒWƒEƒ€ Following the demise of the Soviet Union, the Japan-Soviet Friendship Society was reorganized into the Japan-Russia Association. T.U. was elected as its vice-president in 1993. In that capacity he helped Japanese groups receive economic missions from Russia. In order to facilitate the bilateral trade, the JIC organized a Japan-Russia economic symposium in Tokyo and Osaka.

In 1993 T.U. lost the election for the House of Representatives. He was 55 years old. γ“c‘μŽO‹cˆυˆψ‘ή