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26/07/01 . N/A . Rueters . Japan
McDonald's Japan shifts from burgers to votes
TOKYO (Reuters) - McDonald's Japan has shifted some of its legendary sales expertise from hamburgers to politics -- pulling out all the stops for a former member staff standing in Sunday's parliamentary election.
"Mc to the Future. From McDonald's to the Upper House," declares a red poster with a smiling picture of Haruko Arimura, who is running for a seat in the Upper House of parliament.
The sign is prominently posted at each of the approximately 3,700 McDonald's stores across the country.
"We have television personalities who used to work for us. But if she wins, she will be our first parliamentary member," said Makoto Motoki, director of the legal service department of McDonald's Japan.
Motoki added that although the firm fully supports Arimura, it has no political agenda. It was merely a policy of its outspoken president Den Fujita, who wants to support former employees, he said.
Arimura is far from the only political novice running in the election, with nearly 50 celebrity candidates from various parties are in the race, including a TV personality, a soccer star and a sumo wrestler.
Arimura, a 30-year-old university instructor who used to work at the personnel department of McDonald's, says in her homepage that she wants to bring the voice of a new generation to the ruling party.
"I want to increase the transparency of politics and set create the environment where children, students and young people in Japan can proudly say they want to be a politician," she writes in the homepage.