politics

Finance minister under fire for sloppy behavior at G-7 meeting

64 Comments

Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa came under fire Monday for what appeared to be drunken behavior at a press conference after a two-day meeting of the Group of Seven economic powers in Rome through Saturday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said at a news conference that when Nakagawa called him in the morning, Kawamura gave him a warning, telling him to watch how he conducts himself.

According to Kawamura, Nakagawa, 55, apologized for causing anxiety but denied being under the influence of alcohol during the news conference despite having had some drinks, saying he had taken too much cold medicine.

''It is regrettable the finance minister made people concerned,'' Kawamura said, while indicating his questionable behavior was due to his busy schedule and his cold.

Separately, Nakagawa told reporters in the Diet that whether he will stay in his position is up to Prime Minister Taro Aso, denying any intention to step down from the post immediately.

He also said he did not drink shortly before the press conference, though he did on the flight bound for Rome. ''I took a larger-than-usual portion of cold medicine. I am sorry for my behavior.''

Earlier in the day, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori criticized Nakagawa for his seemingly drunken behavior at the press conference.

''Since he really loves to drink, I advised him once to be careful about drinking,'' Mori said on a morning TV program when asked to comment on footage of Nakagawa's appearance at the press conference.

Observers say Mori's remarks seem to question Nakagawa's qualification as finance minister and the issue may deal a further blow to the already embattled administration of Prime Minister Taro Aso.

Opposition party leaders also lashed out at Nakagawa.

''It is not a matter of shame,'' said Yukio Hatoyama, the secretary-general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan on Monday morning. ''He is supposed to be dismissed right away.''

Major overseas news media reported Nakagawa slurring at the post-G-7 news conference and domestic broadcasters repeatedly aired the stories with zoom-in footage of Nakagawa's face.

ABC News ran a story online titled “Asleep at the Wheel: Japanese FM Nods Off During G-7 Talks,” in which they jibed that if the contracting economy and pursuant massive job losses at Japan’s biggest car manufacturers weren’t enough to keep him awake, there was always Italian favorite espresso.

Nakagawa slurred his speech and verged on the incomprehensible during a press conference with Japanese press Saturday afternoon, leading some to label him a disgrace. The incident has revived memories of a speech of his during the election campaign in 2000, in which he appeared quite drunk.

Nakagawa stumbled along in the interview: “The G-7 meetings…which were officially held today… started last night….there was something like a joint declaration. I heard America’s proposals…umm…and G-20 policies for moving forward…”

Nakagawa also cut in to a question aimed at Masaaki Shirakawa, the governor of the Bank of Japan, who was also in attendance. Nakagawa then misquoted the central bank’s interest rate, currently at 0.1%. “It’s going up from 0 to 0.25%? Well it’s still extremely low.”

Government aides said it was the worst they had ever seen Nakagawa.

© Wire reports

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


64 Comments
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Wow, he must be one of those over-dedicated Japanese workers who stayed up late into the night preparing for the meeting and..

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shameful..

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Drunk off his rear end. Does the idea of "public servant" exist in their ranks? And he still gets to keep his job?

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I think everybody is really being too harsh. He realized how screwed Japan and the LDP were in the review session before the speech and decided rather than make more reprehensible lies, he would just be incomprehensible. Makes perfect sense to me. And given the intellectual firepower of the Aso brand, it fits right in with the strategy of being as truly incompetent as possible!

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Note to all future finance ministers: Regular coffee has more caffeine than espresso. Whisky has no caffeine. In a pinch, Kahlua will get you your vitamins "A" and "C" -- alcohol and caffeine in a single dose. Carry on.

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Japanese manners at their finest. Norm for most meetings ja-nai?

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Given the current state of the world's economy and outlook for the future, his getting plastered makes complete sense to me. Okay, Nakagawa-san, now pass me the bottle.

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Who put this drunk in power anyway? They should be fired as well.

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Government aides said it was the worst they had ever seen Nakagawa.

Very funny. So, he's a bit of a Nixon, then.

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Don't they boot him out straight away.

In other countries he would be sacked immediatly in disgrace. Strewth the Japanese LDP seems like ten times worser than ths shambles we have in Britain, the mininster is a disgrace.

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He was given a status report of the state of the global economy, and then proceeded purposely to get drunk. ;)

What I want to know is, what was he drinking?

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The self-righteous will be made to stumble.

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"What does financially mean?" hic!!

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should be some lemoncello's. I heard they are deadly.

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look how well-behaved the japanese are when they are the forgeiners - on the world stage no less. shame shame shame.

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LOL,

In other countries he would be sacked immediatly in disgrace.

No no, in Europe we have some drunk blokes too:

Here is Dardenne (Belgian politician, mayor of Bruges city):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCgp6eZ8JHU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be21BdEyEgM&feature=channel_page

And the best one might be Sarkozy in a G8 summit, after having some good time with Vladimir Putin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4u3449L5VI

Nakagawa-sama drank because of the economic gloomy forecasts. Rome has excellent restaurants. Looking at the way he spoke and his relaxed way to handle questions, I bet it's Chianti (or a "Riserva" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo) :D

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NHK just aired the video on the noon news, Nakagawa looks even worse than those photos of bush drunk off his gourd at the Olympics in China.

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Must have been a pretty boring meeting.

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I am in the middle of getting my 2008 tax rtn done & seeing this jerk makes my blood boil knowing the yen they will steal will be wasted on wasted jerks like this, I wud be better off piling up Y10,000 notes on my kitchen floor & putting match to them for the heat they give off rather give to LDP! Disgusting beyond belief

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Japanese oyaji falling asleep in a meeeting? Never!! He may not have been drunk, but was displaying standard J-behaviour.

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i have seen many sleeping during diet d.eliberations.I think it is a habit of most oyaji's here.i hope he be reprimanded for such misconduct

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"Since he loves to drink" Said Mori, ex PM. Yeah, well he oughtta know, hey? Probably the biggest lush in politics. Mori was without doubt the biggest blunder this side of Midway. An utter moron and I'd take anything he said with more than a grain of salt ...

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but that's how they do it in Japan. Only Japanese understand

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had he admitted to being drunk and simply asked for forgiveness, i would have had more respect for him. why is it that people are so unwilling to admit their mistakes and repent their crimes/sins/trespasses. this, combined with the aso-koizumi feud, will only serve to add to the oppositions position that the ruling party is unfit to govern. i support neither side but, i am not comfortable with the idea of government "by default". these men really need to straighten up an put their personal issues aside for the sake of the millions who are relying on them.

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Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa came under fire Monday for what appeared to be drunken behavior

Hey, don't worry about the guys handling the economic crisis. They're professionals ...

Ha. Ha. Ha.

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Hardest I've laughed in a week! Thanks!

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He was high from the yen's rally against the euro.

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Took too much "cold medicine" - it's SOP now to blame such behaviour on medicines, lawyers and PR specialists spend much time investigating all the medicines that their clients take; but at least he did not claim it was alcohol from his handwipes!

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I bet he vomited where people have to walk just like the other filthy Oji-San's do on the station platforms when they're drunk. Seems to be the way the Oji-San's cap off a great night out.

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Note the use of the word "regrettable": a weapon of any JDM politician who is forced to explain their actions but refuses to apologise for them.

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"...but denied being under the influence of alcohol during the news conference despite having had some drinks, saying he had taken too much cold medicine."

Perhaps this is a bit of common sense seeping in, but generally when you're exhausted and/or have a cold, it's not wise to drink -- be it on the flight, as he claims, or in Italian restaurants on the people's dime, etc.

Now... let's just entertain, for one second, that he may indeed have taken too much cough syrup. It's true that ingesting too much cough syrup can cause you to become 'drunk' to an extent (hence some people use it as a cheap means of getting wasted), but show me a single brand of cough syrup that recommends you also drink alcohol with it -- and in particular on a plane?!? (when you're recommended not to drink more than a single alcoholic beverage or two anyway).

Any way you slice it, the guy was drunk, and should be canned.

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Reporter: "Sir. Surely you can't be serious about the current state of Japan's financial market?"

Nakagawa: "Yes, I'm(hic)...I'm serious. And don't call me, Shirley!"

S

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nodding off in the middle of things? he was obviously (allegedly!) high on her-on or some other opiate. (when in rome...) it's pretty ridiculous that he's getting away with such light treatment given the recent treatment of athletes and students in connection with marijuana use.

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I'm not in anyway saying this man's actions should be excused.

However, for the sake of the Japanese language... some words just don't translate well. Translations aside, culturally, moushiwakenai meaning "I have no excuse" and ikan meaning "I regret" induce very different impressions in Japanese and English. I would almost go as far as say their meanings are reversed. "I have no excuse" can be seen in Japanese as someone saying "Its unfortunate, but I have nothing more to say", while "I regret" is very personal and as it is from a subjective perspective, is seen as more closer to the heart.

Ofcourse, as in any apology, words are only words, and judging just how sincere they are is an incredibly difficult thing... but the Japanese language has an issue here that's rarely recognized and causes a lot of problems in the international arena.

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Wow! How unusual! A middle aged Japanese man having alcohol problems? No way! He said he had too much cold medicine. I'd like to know which ones he was taking cos all the ones I've tried do bugger all! He was drunk! Plain and simple! Admit it oyaji!

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Well, it could be worse. ABC News could have run a headline saying, "A Yen to Yawn: Japanese PM Pickles His Ginger in Front of Cameras."

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If only he had lit a joint and smoked it before the meeting he would most probably come up with some creative and positive input to put towards the economic crisis. Japan once again shows its drunken immaturity on the world stage, and meanwhile uni students are horse raped for having a puff.

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Reassuring to see the Japanese economy continues to remain in safe hands...

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"...but denied being under the influence of alcohol during the news conference despite having had some drinks, saying he had taken too much cold medicine."

Its possible to drink alcohol, take cold medicine, and then have the medicine magnify the effect of the alcohol. However while it is possible, if he knew, or even suspected it might be a problem, then he had no business being there. And he certainly had no business drinking. How stupid can you get, becoming effectively drunk at a international conference like this. The man is an embarrassment. He should resign.

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Quality Japanese government at its best. I find it amazing how his minders allowed him to go in front of the cameras in such a condition.

I find it highly err ... "regrettable" that Japanese companies can let go of thousands of workers but the country can finance its ministers as well as the prime minister's drinking habits.

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In other countries he would be sacked immediatly in disgrace.

No, I rather doubt it, but their handlers would never have let him get before a TV camera. He'd have been declared "sick."

Cut the guy a break. He drank too much and woke up still loaded or at best hung-over. If he was a pilot and he showed up to work, yes - fire his ass, but he's a finance minister. Who the hell cares?

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Let's close this chapter, New Finance Minister will represent Japan at next G7 summit...G20? may be vice finance minister.

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Incidentally,

I find it highly err ... "regrettable" that Japanese companies can let go of thousands of workers but the country can finance its ministers as well as the prime minister's drinking habits.

If that word was used in the Japanese sense, it would read that you're apologizing on behalf of the Japanese companies and maybe the Japanese government as well... depending on how you interpret the grammar...

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Shoichi the Finance minister, Didn't think it sinister, To booze it up before the G7 meeting.

While bound for Rome, Far, far from home, He got sloshed in his first class seating.

With Japan in the hole, He traveled on the dole, As an economic financial savior.

But as he spoke to the group, He began to stoop, With what appeared to be drunken behavior.

Its that nasty cold medicine, Taken before the G7, That in fact made his speech to slur.

Verging on the incomprehensible, This is simply regrettable, Mr. Nakagawa, finance minister, sir.

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And he was still probably more eloquent than Aso is sober.

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I'm sorry hannari, I was being sarcatic, it just really doesn't translate well over the internet does it, sorry.

Anyway, on the bright side, there will be no repurcussions for Nakagawa anyway :)

And ... why is Mori so upset? His gaffes while PM were absolutely hilarious.

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Nice to see Japan has Foster Brooks for a Finance Minister

(For those unfamiliar with the aforementioned Mr Brooks, check him out on that youtube thingy).

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yes, quite an irony. a senior diplomat can be under the influence of drugs at the wheel at a major international event at a crucial point for the whole country and receive no punitive action whereas having a little spliff in the privacy of your home ends the careers of sumo wrestlers and university students on a weekly basis at the moment

sigh

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Tired and emotional on the world stage, another of Todai's fine upstanding generational politicians (he also has some interesting ideas about the place of women in society and struggles with reading kanji too). Perhaps the party should stop his grog and make him wear a headband with kinshu ("on the wagon") on it.

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You know you're in trouble when you get advice from former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori!!

Remember when he greeted President Bill Clinton with this gem?:

Mori: Who are you? Clinton: I'm Hillary's husband! Mori: Me, too. Clinton: (...)

Throw the bums out!

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Ohhh a Brome abuser eh?

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Was about to say the same thing, goingtoshopping. When Mr Mori starts critisizing you, it's time to go.

The problem seems to be that you have to be related to a minister in order to be a minister. That leaves a pretty small group of people to choose from and you're going to get a lot of complete tools in high positions.

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Truly a pity that the world's second largest economy is run by clowns like this. But, then again, the people have been re-electing the LDP for around 50 years now, so they get what they deserve.

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That whole G-7 meeting was a bunch of inconsequential hypocritical posturing anyhow. He should have gone the nine yards and put his underpants on his head with some pencils sticking out of his nose.

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nepotism at work. but then to do otherwise would upset the wa

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I think that Finance Minister was just drunk in dream at the press conference. Japanese ministers seem to be bad drunkard at party. If you make some progress with Japan, get him drunk first. He will accept your request.

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The sad thing is that as blundering, incompetent and drunk as Nakagawa may be, he's probably doing no worse a job than all those other finance ministers. He should still be fired though.

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kampai!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Shameful,embarrassing and all the rest,no doubt...but the funniest thing out of this country for a long time.

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Thank you Nakagawa-san. I've seen the video so many times and I still can't stop laughing! Funnier then Monthy Python. Thank you and kanpai!

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Yeah he looks wasted in the photo. Oh well, even sober not much productive would have come from him.

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i just saw the geezer on the BBC website. He is well and truly plastered.

Everyone is taking the micky out of him worldwide. Japan and the LDP area joke, with idiots like this and Aso in charge.

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He should be glad he wasn't drinking shochu. He might have ended up brain damaged.

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calic0cat: Amen to that. I will never drink that stuff again.

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