Photo: Arfiya Eri's Twitter
By Anne Kader
Arfiya Eri of the Liberal Democratic Party won the House of Representatives by-election in Chiba Constituency No. 5 in Japan held on Sunday. The 34-year-old took the seat previously held by a fellow party member Kentaro Sonoura, who resigned over a financial and political scandal, Japan News reports.
After her win, Ms Eri thanked her supporters: "Thanks to all of you, [that] I was able to win. This is where it all starts.", "From Ichikawa City /Urayasu City, we would like to ask for your continued support for the activities of Eri Alfiya, which aims to create a kinder society."
Ms Eri has been the world's first election candidate of Uyghur heritage backed by a major party, Uyghur Times reported.
"She is the single most trustworthy human being I know? And one of the kindest too! [She is] the sort of friend that you can always count on their sheer goodness in the hardest of times", Joe McReynolds, a long-time friend of Arfiya's, tweets.
"Arfiya has had an incredible career - the Bank of Japan, the United Nations - but the connecting thread is that she has spent her adult life trying to build a more just world. For the Uyghurs, the women in Japan, and anyone treated unfairly", McReynolds continues.
Ms Eri was born in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, in 1988. Her parents are from the "Uyghur Autonomous Region": Her father is Uyghur Japanese and her mother Uzbek-Japanese. She was naturalized in Japan with her family in 1999. From the age of ten, she was raised in China (Shanghai / Guangzhou) due to her father's transfer.
For her young age, Ms. Eri has an impressive resume, having worked at CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington), the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations (New York), WHO (Geneva), Citibank, China (Shanghai), Bank of Japan International Bureau IMF / World Bank General Assembly Preparation Group / International Relations Group to mention a few. Arfiya is fluent in several languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, Uyghur, Uzbek, and Turkish.
"From my experience in China, I became more eager to learn more about the relationship between different people groups and cultures, wealth and poverty, and peace and war, so I decided to enroll in the Foreign Policy Department at Georgetown University," Ms Eri says.
As a young Japanese woman, Ms Eri has taken the lead in Japan's democracy and wants to contribute to the Japanese economy and financial stability." she writes on her website.