On Dec 1, America's House of Representatives expelled Republican congressman Gorge Santos, who was voted out by a more than two-thirds majority, including 105 members of his own party.
Santos is facing indictment for various fraud-related crimes. He attracted the media's attention when a newspaper in his local district of Long Island, New York, revealed that he had fabricated practically every aspect of his curriculum vitae, including his family background, education and work history.
Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising, but Japanese politicians have been known to inflate their resumes as well. In particular, claims about their studies at overseas institutions have been subject to occasional media scrutiny.
Two decades ago, Democratic Party of Japan Diet member Junichiro Koga, representing a constituency in Fukuoka Prefecture, was exposed for his distortions regarding graduation from, or attendance at, not one but several institutions in California, including Pepperdine University (where he had attended from 1978 to 1982 but not graduated) and the University of California at Los Angeles -- the latter of which denied having any record of his having studied there.
Following a financial scandal and huge media uproar, Koga resigned in September 2004.
In 2004, weekly magazine Shukan Post professed to expose the late Shinzo Abe, who at the time was serving as secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party and regarded as one of the nation's most promising young politicians. Abe would go on to become Japan's longest-serving prime minister.
According to an English-language web site profiling Abe's background (no longer online), "Following graduation from the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Law at Seikei University in 1977, Mr Abe studied politics at the Universtity [sic] of Southern California."
An acquaintance from Abe's days at Seikei University recalled that after a year of preparatory language study Abe entered USC from the spring of 1978. "He attended the summer session, but he didn't receive any degree. The following year he returned to Japan and took up employment in a company."
In other words, the statement that Abe spent two years "studying politics" at the University of Southern California is not quite factual. The magazine's investigation of the school's records confirmed that a "Shinzo Abe" spent the only the spring, summer and autumn terms of 1978 enrolled at USC, without specifying a major. Three of the six courses in which he matriculated were "English for Foreign Students."
"He did not take any courses in political science," said a USC spokesperson. "Each course earned four credits, so he received a total of 24; this would not have been sufficient for graduation."
More recently Nikkan Gendai (Nov 21) has turned its investigative spyglass toward Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, whose resume states she graduated from Egypt's Cairo University.
In 2020 investigative journalist Taeko Ishii published a book titled "Empress Yuriko Koike," which sold over 200,000 copies. A new paperback edition of the book will be released on December 8.
One bit of information in the new book is that a formerly pseudonymous source is now identified as Momoyo Kitahara.
Nikkan Gendai tracked down Kitahara, now age 82, and asked her about why she was willing to come out with her real name in the book's re-issue.
"First, I felt that because my name was left out in the previous book, doubts were raised over my statements regarding Koike," she said. "After watching all the reportage over the scandal concerning the Johnny Kitagawa talent agency and resulting problems, I felt I was left with no choice but to allow my name to be quoted."
When Governor Koike first ran for a seat in the Diet in 1993, she claimed she held a degree in literature from Cairo University. If untrue, this would actually be in violation of Japan's election laws.
In her autobiographical book "Furisode, piramiddo wo noboru (climbing a pyramid with flapping kimono sleeves)," Koike had written that she entered Cairo University in October 1972.
"I had been sharing a residence in Cairo with Yuriko from around May 1972," Kitahara recalled. "About two months later she abruptly left for Paris for a short-term study, and returned to Egypt on September 21. When I told her I was planning to study Arabic at a language school for foreign students, she told me, 'I'll go with you too.' We began the course from October. It was a beginner's course."
Kitahara showed the reporter a letter dated November 29, 1972 that she had written to her mother. It read, "Yuriko received notification she would be admitted to Cairo University, and to celebrate we opened a can of sekihan (rice cooked with red beans)."
So that's one discrepancy right there: Rather than Koike's claim of "university admission from October 1972," we have a written record of "notification of acceptance for admission" in November 1972.
And there's more revelations about Koike to come in the next installment, promises Nikkan Gendai.© Japan Today