It didn't take long for one of Prime Minister Abe's appointees to his new cabinet to become the target of accusations of inappropriate past behavior. Just a day after the cabinet was restructured, Nikkan Gendai (Aug 4) came out with a banner front-page headline that proclaimed to the nation that House of Councilors member Masaji Matsuyama, newly appointed to serve in in the post of Minister for Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens, may have taken part in some "dynamic engagement" at a party held on Valentine's Day back in 1998, in Asahikawa City, Hokkaido.
Later that year, Flash magazine ran a photo from the buffet table, which showed that among the tasty treats provided to partygoers were slices of sashimi served in the style known as nyotaimori.
The dictionary describes nyotaimori -- composed of the words nyotai (female body) and mori (a serving, or to heap up) -- as "the practice of eating sushi or sashimi off an unclad woman's body."
In this particular case, the filets of fishy fare were artistically aligned atop the bare belly of a 16-year old girl.
The 58-year-old Matsuyama, from Fukuoka, was first elected to the Diet in 2001. Prior to that, he was president of Matsuyama Kensetsu, a construction company, and from 1996 had served as director of the local Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was named the national head from January 1999.
While in his capacity with the Fukuoka chapter of the Jaycees, Matsuyama spent Feb 14 and 15, 1998, in Asahikawa attending a conference on "circulating information in order to create global citizens."
Following the presentations and speeches, a member of the local Jaycees told the audience of over two dozen, "Because today is Valentine's Day, we in Asahikawa have arranged for you to be served a la nyotaimori." As the curtains were parted with a flourish, there in the adjacent room lay a prone, completely naked female, whose tummy was topped with a variety of seafood.
The mostly male audience were said to have made audible gasps of delighted surprise.
"At the beginning, the girl was wearing sunglasses, but these were removed," a party participant was quoted in Flash. "Her legs were spread apart and some of the diners 'marinated' their tidbits by rubbing them between her legs or against her nipples."
Employing a minor for this kind of undraped dining is indeed illegal, and four of the party organizers, including a "Mr S" were arrested on charges of violating a local ordinance aimed at protecting juveniles. Mr S had previously run for a seat in the Diet's House of Representatives, but was defeated. An unnamed source pointed out that Matsuyama had attended the conference and it's likely he'd been present to partake the naked lunch, or in this case, dinner.
Lurid tales regarding politicians are by no means unique. Several years ago, a story surfaced about another cabinet appointee, Tsuyoshi Takagi. Soon after his appointment in October 2015, several weekly magazines revealed that during his youth, Takagi had been suspected of snatching ladies' lingerie from neighboring verandas. Weekly Playboy went so far as to sarcastically report that panty pilferers around the nation had rallied to his defense, shouting support by saying, "Minister, we're placing great expectations on you!"
When Nikkan Gendai approached Matsuyama's office for a comment, it was told by his secretary that while he had indeed been in Asahikawa for the conference that day, he had not attended the party, and his name had not come up in the subsequent police investigation. "So yes, he's aware of it because he read the article. But the following year he was promoted to national head of the Jaycees."
"So then, where was Matsuyama-sensei at the time the incident took place?" Nikkan Gendai countered, to which the secretary replied, "Wakarimasen." So while there's no proof of guilt, the writer concludes, suspicion over possible involvement in this "distasteful" incident may still be enough to dash cold water on any celebrations over his cabinet appointment.© Japan Today