Fast on the heels of Pyongyang frequent flyer and professional wrestler Inoki Antonio's trip to the DPRK in defiance of a Diet ruling (Link), an act that led to a punishment of historic proportions (Link), a star Japan Restoration Party Diet member has further burnished the JRP's reputation as the party of not-ready-for-kindergarten dilettantes. Higashikokubaru Hideo, the former Miyazaki Governor (a post he served in without getting arrested, which, given the history of the Miyazaki governor’s chair, is amazing) and professional comedian yesterday told JRP co-leader and fellow television personality Hashimoto Toru he is resigning his House of Representatives seat.
The reason Higashikokubaru offered for giving up his Kinki Bloc proportional seat, after less than a year in office? "There are limits as to what I can do as a member of the Diet." (Link - J)
The Sankei Shimbun, which occasionally gets a story right, has Higashikokubaru resigning from the Diet in order to run for the post of governor of the Tokyo Metropolitan District (Link - J). This explanation gibes both with Higashikokubaru's elliptical reason for resigning and the fact that he was a candidate for Tokyo governor in 2011, running against and losing to the JRP's other co-leader, then incumbent governor Ishihara Shintaro, who himself resigned his governorship after only a year and a halfway into a four year term in order to run once again for a Diet seat.
Higashikokubaru's plan to win public office in yet a third major region of the country (Kyushu, done; Kansai, done. Why the heck not see if the Kanto is game as well?) is complicated by the grim tenacity of Inose Naoki, Ishihara's former Passepartout who took over after Ishihara's departure. Inose is hanging on to his desk at the Tocho despite everybody's trying to pressure him to resign for accepting an interest-free, no repayment-schedule loan of 50 million yen* from the Tokushukai hospital empire, whose family owners/directors were all arrested this fall for massive voting laws violations in pursuit of a House of Representatives seat for the family dauphin Tokuda Takeshi in the same election that sent Ishihara and Higashikokubaru to the Diet. (Link)
Yes, it is a complicated, intertwined cobweb of mutual back rubbing, raging narcissism, hypocrisy and yes, lots and lots of money.
Anyway, until a member of the Japan Restoration Party does or even says something remotely respectable, the JRP remains the nonsense party -- which, given the absurdities pouring out of late from the Your Party and the Liberal Democratic Party (which, by mercilessly hounding Governor Inose, is trying to make everyone forget that Tokuda, the cash dispenser, is one of its princelings) is saying something.
* Inose took his loan in the form of cash. I had a chance yesterday to find out the mass and dimensions of the loan, if it were handed over in its most likely form of bundles of just-off-the presses 10,000 yen bills. The stack of bills would be 38 centimeters wide, 16 centimeters deep, 10 centimeters high and weigh 5 kilograms.