Japan's former PM turns into superhero

09:00, October 15, 2009      

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One of Japan's most popular leaders, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, is going where few politicians have dared go – into the role of TV's masked superhero, Ultraman King.

The 67-year-old Koizumi, a staunch Elvis Presley fan, recently lent his voice to the character of senior superhero Ultraman King, a respected leader of the Ultraman clan, for a new film.

The red and silver-clad Ultraman is regarded as a cultural phenomenon in Japan, much like Superman and Spiderman.

The popular television and film series is about extra-terrestrials that fight monsters and aliens.

"We considered many people that might be able to play this crucial role," said a spokesman for Tsuburaya Productions, which is making Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie.

"But we thought the only person who could really have the presence of Ultraman King, who brings together the clan, would be Mr. Koizumi, who once headed the state."

While Koizumi's voice can be heard in the film, he will not be making an appearance, the spokesman added. The film will be released in Japan in December.

Koizumi said on television that his son, Shinjiro, "said I should be in it, that he liked it when he was a kid. He said it's not related to politics, so it should be okay."

Koizumi was Japan's prime minister from 2001 to 2006.

Source: Agencies
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