Wednesday, December 11, 2013

From The Nonsense Party, More Nonsense

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.


Anonymous said...

Some of the reports I saw said that he was displeased with how the JRP handled the passage of the Special Secrets Protection Law. I don't know how much of that is the real reason behind his resignation, but it seems more realistic than running for (and losing) TMD governor again.

Brian B. said...

Whatever came of Antonio Inoki's punishment? The article you link only says that the relevant committee was meeting to determine the punishment, which is about where things were a month ago.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. Wasn't the last Tokyo gubenatorial election only like last year? Does that mean the LDP-held Tokyo Assembly would very soon impeach Inose?

What does the LDP gain anyway from such an action besides spitting in Ishihara's face by removing his annointed successor?

Then again, by giving Tokyoites 3 gubernatorial elections in 4 years, coupled with 2 national elections the previous year, I wouldn't be surprised if this election has the lowest turnout ever for the seat of Tokyo Governor. And low turnout = perfect environment for the LDP machinery to work its electoral trickery.

Philippe said...

Perhaps it is the cold winter storm, but I’m missing something. Isn’t that Tokyo election till relatively far away? My the impression is that the current governor will hang onto his seat, unless new ‘facts’ come out (while I confess that I only follow that story with half an eye, and being unclear wile Inose-san is made the fall guy). So I’m not so sure that is the real reason for Higashikokubara-san’s resignation. From what I remember when he was governor in Myazaki, he’s less of an empty windbag than many of the curent diet members.

BTW - you may want to revise this snippet:
… his governorship after only a year and a halfway into a four … Do you mean after one year, and halfway into… ?

MTC said...

Brian B. -

Inoki is serving a 30 day suspension and banishment from the Diet -- the maximum penalty the Diet can impose aside from being stripping a member of his/her seat.

MTC said...

Anonymous #2 -

The calls are coming in from all sides for Inose to resign. Most of those demanding his resignation are hypocrites and demagogues, of course. If the carnival is allowed to continue -- and only public disgust can stop it -- the constant string of hearings and requests for yet more testimony and evidence will paralyze the municipal assembly and the governor's office. Inose did something stupid when he was vulnerable, realizes he did, is sorry for it and no one was harmed. Unfortunately for him and the TMD, 50 million yen without strings attached is succulent red meat for any jealous enemy.

Marcus said...

If anyone was harmed or not from this corruption is beside the point. It is also impossible for us to know, since that is the nature of corruption. It is rarely transparent.

Inose needs to go, if he is genuinely corrupt or just has a very very bad judgement (or both) doesn't really matter.

MTC said...

Marcus -

You do realize the principle you are espousing is, "Though what was done seems to have not been illegal and there is no evidence of favoritism having been shown, we should nevertheless drive an elected official from office" do you not?

If a prosecutor finds an indictable offense and indicts Inose for it, fine. If the voters, when Inose's term in office comes to an end, elect someone else, great.

There are mechanisms, and quite fair and trustworthy ones, to handle this situation. Why not let them run their course?

Marcus said...

I can't say I know the law to the letter in this land but I do know that as a public official to receive cash from an entity which receives subsidies from the government that you run, that is either corruption or naivety to the extent which in either case indicates you are unsuitable for office.

If Inose in the end is forced from his office only by the law, that would only indicate how accepted corruption is in this society. Still better than him staying in office though.