Politician apologizes for ¥8.9 mil face mask price gouging


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He invested during Mets. Smart man.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )


-13 ( +2 / -15 )

There isn't enough information here for me to decide he should be hoisted. Did he flag the gouging? or did someone else?

If he put a bunch of masks he happened to have on hand up for sale on an auction site in early Feb expecting they'd sell for a few thousand and then turned around to see they'd sold for tens of thousands, quickly stopped the auctions after 89 sales had been made, I'd cut him some slack. If he kept on selling after seeing the shortage and thefts from nursing homes and health care centers unfold, he's a dickhead who should not be in public office.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Apologizing cause you get caught is no apology in my books. The rat fink would have continued if he didn't get caught.

29 ( +29 / -0 )

And will he be punished? Nope. This is Japan, and he's Japanese, so "putting his money towards the fight of the virus", which could also mean selling more masks, will be enough since he's pretended to be sorry.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

An aspiring LDP candidate? As far as chicanery goes, he’s got credibility in spades. Cabinet material most definitely!

21 ( +21 / -0 )

Personally, I think he did nothing wrong. He's simply the only one that was caught. Many continue to do what he is doing now. If he's allowed to be an assemblyman and still keep his trading company then he is allowed to sell items on an auction.

-11 ( +8 / -19 )

Damn, I'm in the wrong business. Need to take a page from this guy's book.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

This is criminal, even more coming from an assemblyman who should know better, have a minimum of moral and more than anything, respect law. The mafia does that kind of thing, not a politician who should be serving the interest of the population. If he does not get prosecuted, Japan will again demonstrate how a country of mafia it is.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

What scum, not even human!

0 ( +8 / -8 )

I thought I read that the gov't was going to fine or imprison people if they were caught selling masks at inflated prices. What happened to that threat? Or does that only apply to non-politicians.

A poster above said we should cut him some slack, as he was only selling online and had no idea the masks would sell for such a large amount. Really? You believe that. By Feb. 4th there was already a shortage of masks, many being bought and shipped off to China. He knew exactly what he was doing and profited richly from it.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Wow. talk abt money making ways ???.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Voting time: OUT..seems the crooked politicians are everywhere and have no recourse as he wouldn't have done this to his own in the first place considering the crisis management that is ongoing throughout Japan. YES definitely vote him OUT.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Too bad. He is being punished for being a smart businessman!

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

He should be punished for being scum. But maybe he broke no laws. So the prosecutors should do what they seem to like... just have him arrested again and again as they investigate. They can drop the charges after three months...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm so sorry and I will apologise by keeping my gains and not resigning.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

bow deeply say sorry (keep my 8.9 mil) and that will be the end of it...

the perks of being a politician!

he needs to whipped to within an inch of his life...

I will do it for free...scum bag.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

to be whipped~ that should read.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What he did was not illegal.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

We apologize for being economically ignorant buffoons who have caused and will continue to cause mask shortages by imposing price-fixing on a highly needed product thus reducing its production.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japanese politicians ripping off their fellow countrymen-nothing new there.

I personally prefer to DONATE my masks to the elderly....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

First of all he should be removed from public office, second he should be forced to repay the extra profit he made, third he should be locked up for the Maximum time allowed by law so others in public office get notice.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

He had bought masks LONG before the new corona virus came out. He did not purchase masks out on the market. People needed the masks. He did not prevent anyone who needed masks from getting them. Quite the opposite - he PROVIDED masks. He sold at market price.

What can you possibly have against this man??

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Where is the condemnation of people buying houses for cheap, then selling when the housing market is expensive? For being inflated for location? Should everyone living in tokyo get the refund difference for the price of their property as if they were in Aomori countryside? Land is more a human right than a mask.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Judging by his actions, there are probably other devious activities involving his trading business and his work as an assemblyman.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Perhaps some politician is hoarding all the paper de toilette? There hasn't been any in my part of Tokyo for a week!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

5 years in jail. That’s the new punishment right?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He claims he bought them a long time ago. Did he?

he exploited people’s fears for profit. Jacked up the price to an unbelievable margin.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

He didn't break any laws (including the new law, which forbids scalping - buying the masks retail and then marking them up). He put what he had in stock on auction, so the buyers set the price, not him. You can say it was unethical, but it was certainly legal.

The problem is, though, that he's also a politician - so this is a big black mark for somebody who is supposed to be serving the people.

Years ago, my landlord was a politician and needed us to move out so he could sell his house at a massive profit. I made sure we were well compensated, and he ponied up, knowing that he could kick us out cheaper if he wanted. But he was smart enough to consider his political career. (Didn't quite become mayor anyway.) This guy let his business instinct overrule his political instincts.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

He broke no law. There is only a law against buying up masks and reselling them. He didn't buy them up (i.e. buy them up at a retailer, and thus not allow somebody else to get then at retail prices).

Morally questionable, perhaps. But no reason he should be charged.

He didn't force anyone to buy the masks. People are crazy enough to buy them at that price, then it's their own issue. He was just catering to some demand.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

TomToday  04:14 pm JST

He invested during Mets. Smart man.


-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So that's where all the facemasks went!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Fire this a-hole now, take the money he made from his venture and throw his dumb a.. in jail.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In time of crisis and need he profited being a politician send to prison.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

this guy is worse than those people who hoarded the masks because he did to his own people and is a politician

what a piece a dirt eating scum bag. This guy would sell his mother for a profit too

2 ( +4 / -2 )

auctioning packets of 2,000 masks online from Feb 4 at vastly inflated prices.

I think I noticed his listings on Yahoo Auction. He started them at low prices and the panickers are the ones who bid them up to crazy prices. The article made it look like he listed them at those prices.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

DaDude: "The article made it look like he listed them at those prices."

Who didn't set the price to begin with, amigo? You can sell things without setting them to auction, but he chose not to. It's like the other Japanese companies and "entrepreneurs" like this scumbag who are selling things on Amazon, save that they set a low price and then simply charge an exponential fee for shipping. 1L of hand sterilizer and now going for about 50,000 yen "shipping".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This guy has great potential to lead LDP.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

From the information provided, I don't see what the problem is with what he did. He had masks and legally placed them for legal sale on a legal auction site. They belonged to him and he had the right to sell them for whatever he could get. In reality, masks don't protect you from covid19, so morally, there is absolutely nothing morally questionable about what this man did and he should not need to apologize. If uninformed and paranoid people want to buy useless masks at inflated prices, that's just fine.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Diego 3 ...sigh..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The quality of public services are never good when you have these politicians.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lol at all the fake outrage for brownie points. It's basic supply and demand, welcome to capitalism. How do you think your local supermarket (or virtually any business doing resale) makes a profit? By buying products in bulk for cheap, and selling them for way more than they cost.

If you have an issue with this, why aren't you boycotting every single business that ever sold you anything?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

While part of it is capitalism, but masks are not exactly seafood or stocks where it's auctioned and the goods goes to the highest bidder. I highly doubt he normally sells masks through auctions

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is profiteering, plain and simple. Similar to black market activity in my opinion and highly suspect from an ethical point of view.

It's like a store charging 500 times the normal price for litre of water during a catastrophe. Not good.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I guess price gouging and ripping off the public who are in dire need to stay alive is a political issue not a crime considering it’s in the politics section.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

He owned them and there were people dumb enough to buy them at inflated prices. I don't see what was done that requires an apology. Like he's the first person to sell something in demand at an inflated price.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Here we go again, with all of the "technically it's not illegal" talk. What he did is wrong, and politicians are supposed to be held to a higher standard. The guy was hardly contrite during his apology press conference; it's now up to the voters of Shizuoka to give this guy the boot.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The point is that he was profiteering off panic!

That is morally wrong.

I have thousands of masks that I am giving away to the elderly (most at risk) and foreigners that are not able to find masks.

The wholesale price of my masks were 1 yen each, bought a few years ago.

So, Mr Morota may have made anywhere from 50-100 times his initial investment on fear and anxiety.

Morota could have just easily doubled his money but he preyed on the fear of the people.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

He's a jerk for gouging. I hope his political career is over (doubtful).

And the people buying the masks are panicky idiots with too much money on their hands.

Emptying your bank account for masks, the run on masks, TP, bottled water, feminine hygiene products, god knows what's next...look at how much chaos was caused from a handful of tweets.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Public pillory needs to be reintroduced for people like him.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Here we go again, with all of the "technically it's not illegal" talk. What he did is wrong, and politicians are supposed to be held to a higher standard. The guy was hardly contrite during his apology press conference; it's now up to the voters of Shizuoka to give this guy the boot.

You are right. But the reason I said it's not illegal is because of numerous comments calling for his arrest and imprisonment. It's ridiculous, and it needs pointing out. As a politician, he should be booted, but that's up to the voters. Not as though politics is filled with moral people, though.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

if he was a regular joe, we would call him a jerk,but as a politician, a public officer, he has moral code to serve the public, not his pocket, i would compare this guy to a pimp , using women to generate revenue,

with politician like this, who needs gangster, wow, this is low quality , very low.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

typical dirtbag official

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, what he did was immoral, illegal? Well that's questionable, though I don't condone it.


I think more people should be concerned about this.

> by selling face masks via online auctions.

> packets, each auctioned off for between 30,000 yen to 170,000 yen.

People have 30,000 to 170,000 yen to waste on a mask that won't even prevent what they are trying to prevent in the first place?

Looks like auction goers need to gain some perspective first here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why are people so surprised? He's a politician =)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Look at an insightful application to stem resale in Taiwan where a non-hereditary stateswoman rules. Mask-rationing system has resumed since Feb 6, revamped with lower unit prices and convenient-stores dropped from retailer lists. Buyers must show health insurance cards at over 6,000 insurance-registered pharmacies and drugstores to buy 2 masks per week, a sharp drop from the previous 3 per day. Week-days of purchase are equally divided between odd- and even-number insurance holders with Sundays open to both. The fair strategy also put an end to long queues in panic buying.

Take another measure from South Korea that initially had difficulty extracting the list of attendees of their faith assembly held in a local town because of religious freedom/privacy. The unbeknownst leader, apologizing in total repentance, exhibited his willingness to work with the leftist government in no time for the country to fall behind Italy. The national broadcaster, not its robust SNS, makes balanced news available 24/7. Aghast was I left watching how serenely plaintiffs and defendants in far-away locations responded over big screens to calls from a judge in a Seoul Higher Court to proceed with the case. So would be Carlos Ghosn! Social distancing would be well kept making a physical distance of 9,000km obsolete.

The IT-goner Japan, gorged with Abe, Aso, Kono, Koizumi and other multi-generation tribes, remains distinct for its procrastination, say in debt repayment. The more time their vassals waste in timely disclosure of Yokohama clinical cases to protect lords, however, the more frail lives will be lost: Lose time, lose life. Time is a luxury we can no longer let public servants entertain. Japan must do far better than the creed repentant in virus containment to occupy an honored place in an international society---The italics indicate the quote from the Constitution.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes, a rationing system would probably be always the best solution to ensure everyone gets their share. It could be as simple as issuing coupons; should be easy to implement and regulate

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I thought he should loose his job at first. But I think hi

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No price gouging. Let the govt set prices for all products, eh comrade?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Where in this article did he apologize? He confessed, yeah, but apologized.......haven't read it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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