politics

Minister hit by bar scandal also under fire for owning TEPCO shares

59 Comments
By Kyoko Hasegawa

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Oh, no, not a 'conflict of interests' at all; he most certainly WANTS the NPPs turned back on so that he himself can also make more money. That does not conflict with owning the stocks. Now, if we're talking about a conflict of interests in terms of saying he's going to support the will of the people and all that jazz, well... but then name a Japanese politician that actually listens to their constituents will it will take away from said politician's vested interests.

As for the S&M scandal, it's utter BS that they went there and were charged only 18,000, and that he did not know about it. Or if he didn't know about it -- he has no business being a leader, does he? There seems to be a whole lot of people in power who claim to have no idea what's going on around and directly below them.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Yeah, no problem at all... This is how Teflon-coated nepotism works. Sheesh...

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Also Friday, the under-fire minister said he had disciplined staff at his political office who billed an 18,230 yen visit to an S&M bar in September 2010 as a political expense.

SM Political expense lol ))))))) And WE pay for that!! Its something else It sounds like regular attending SM sessions is mandatory for 経済産業省 employees lol ))))))

6 ( +6 / -0 )

“Keeping them means I’m supporting TEPCO as the minister in charge,” he told reporters on Friday.

That's exactly what makes it a conflict of interest.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Well ... there's no choice ... he's gotta go. It's bad enough being in mysterious possession of a receipt from an S&M club ... but being a stockholder in TEPCO, the agency he now oversees ... no way. If he can't handle his own financial stuff, how the heck can he handle the nation's trade & industry ministry? And holding on to TEPCO stock, how can we trust him with being honest with what is happening within TEPCO?

Thus the revolving door continues to spin.

Can't the government ... especially Prime Minister Abe ... study thoroughly the records of the people who are put in ministerial positions? Can't see why they can't do their homework properly.

So it goes ... "Hey, it's your turn to head a ministry ... step right up ... we'll check on your qualifications later."

How many more questionable ministers are at the helm in this country? For sure, we'll never know the exact number ...

14 ( +14 / -0 )

geez, it's only 180,000 yen, people. hardly an amount worth quitting over. manufactured "controversy" at its best. touche, LDP.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

geez, it's only 180,000 yen, people. hardly an amount worth quitting over

The other ministers fans were only 80 yen, but illegal all the same. Miss whiplash in the S&M club only charged 18000 yen for "services rendered", immoral using public money at best.

Check all his accounts, go to his house, I'll bet he has many millions of yen in cash which he can't remember the origin of. Just like Ozawa....

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Seems like a minor issue to me. Especially if he got them when they were much more expensive......

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

not sure i would call the local political landscape "normally staid".

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I move that Miyazawa be given a good spanking and then be told to go and sin no more.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They might only be worth 180,000Y now but not long ago they were worth over 2 million yen. This is the definition of conflict of interest.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This man is already the gift that keeps on giving.

What form of discipline was it for his naughty office staff by the way? I hope they didn't enjoy it too much.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And the witch hunt continues.

Putting stocks into a trust to remove conflict of interest is a perfectly normal procedure when someone lands a cabinet position, anywhere in the world.

Unless the DPJ wants to prohibit all elected officials from owning stocks, that's going to have to do.

Be interesting to know how many of the anti-nuclear DPJ have been cleaning up on oil and gas by blocking the nuclear plants...

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Just keeps getting worse and worse

3 ( +5 / -2 )

No surprises here. It just makes me laugh.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Goodness me, are there any politicians related to past politicians who are not on the take. Are there any politicians who are just doing their job?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@hokkaidoguy ... "Putting stocks into a trust to remove conflict of interest is a perfectly normal procedure when someone lands a cabinet position, anywhere in the world. ... Unless the DPJ wants to prohibit all elected officials from owning stocks, that's going to have to do"

You appear to be correct that it is not illegal, however that does not mean that it is not in the public's interest to know about Miyazawa's investments. Transparent government makes for solid democracy.

To put the conflicted stocks "as is" into a trust is not the law in the US - here is the US law:

United States Office of Government Ethics : Resolving Conflict Of Interests

... In particular, a criminal conflict of interest statute, 18 U.S.C. 208, requires an employee to be disqualified (“recused”) from a “particular matter” if it would have a direct and predictable effect on the employee’s own financial interests or on certain financial interests that are treated as the employee’s own, such as those of the employee’s spouse or a prospective employer. There are a number of ways to deal with a financial conflict of interest under 18 U.S.C. 208: .. () The employee may divest the conflicting property...() The employee may establish a qualified trust. Qualified trusts are rare. ... a value of less than $1,000. () Qualified Diversified Trust. .. not considered to pose a conflict of interest because the portfolio is so diversified that an official action taken by the employee would not have a direct and predictable effect on the value of the portfolio.

http://www.oge.gov/Topics/Financial-Conflicts-of-Interest-and-Impartiality/Resolving-Conflicts-of-Interest/

6 ( +6 / -0 )

His stake is worth 180,000 yen, so yes on the surface this is no big deal.

But then he also bought most of them before the Fukushima crisis according to the article. The stock price was circa 2,000 yen before Fukushima, and just 339 yen now. He's probably well underwater on his position (still probably only circa a million yen).

The problem is that anyone owning shares wants the stock price to go higher, and he's in a position of influence. His job isn't to boost the price of TEPCO shares, but to do what's right in his position as minister. He should sell the shares immediately.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@craighicks

You appear to be correct that it is not illegal, however that does not mean that it is not in the public's interest to know about Miyazawa's investments. Transparent government makes for solid democracy.

That's why he disclosed them.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Still only scratching the surface here with these lying , cheating, stealing, scamming politicos, dig deeper, and while at it start investigating all of them and the opposition party, you will be surprised what you uncover, this so far is only minor infringements in comparison.

The whole place is riddled with scandels and corruption, its how the place operates.

By the way any one got the address for the S&M club ?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

He's probably well underwater on his position (still probably only circa a million yen).

Whether he came out ahead is not the issue. It may be that, through his influence, he cut his losses. You don't actually have to benefit for it to be a conflict of interest.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This guy is scum. I wish he would be made to live in a Fukushima shelter for 3 years as a punishment. This country is too soft on these disgusting people.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Abe really isn't doing too well, is he?

Time for him to step down and let someone who can do the job take the reins.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@bertiewooster

Time for him to step down and let someone who can do the job take the reins.

Ah, but who? DPJ? The people who signed us up for the sales tax? Led by Kaieda, who famously broke down in tears when confronted with his failures in handling Fukushima? Perhaps he could step aside and let the retired pin-up girl take over. Shall we return to Noda, who nationalized the Senkakus? Or how about Ozawa? He seemed like an honest, level sort, didn't he?

Yeah. Face it, Abe is no worse than the alternatives.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

I wonder...with all the comments I read on a daily basis the spectrum of stories that JapanToday offers for our perusal.... are read by people in positions who are able or willing to do something about the inequities and general disappointment we read about ?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"The government brushed off the issue, saying that Miyazawa had disclosed his holding of about 600 shares in the embattled company—currently worth about 180,000 yen"

Gosh, even I make more than that in a month. Big deal.

“I don’t think there is any problem at all,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, told a regular press briefing on Friday.

“If someone is sworn in as a minister, the rules say he or she should refrain from share trading during their term and entrust those shares to a trust bank… Minister Miyazawa has already started” on the process, he added."

Exactly, exactly! Try to get him on something else, sheesh.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Abe is worse than the alternatives. He is a ultraright reactionary who wants to take Japan back to the good old days of the 1930s. None of the folks listed above would dream of such a stupid plan. Abe does. The DPJ was inept but not insane. Under them the country drifted but under Abe the country is going downhill fast. The question is will Japan reject the LDP again for a party living in the 21st century or go even farther rightward and back in time with the JRP or whatever Hashimoto is calling his party now. Place your bets now.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"will Japan reject the LDP again for a party living in the 21st century"

Didn't Japan do pretty well from the 1950s to the early 1980s under the LDP?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

hokkaidoguy,

Or how about Ozawa? He seemed like an honest, level sort, didn't he?

Ozawa would be my choice.

I think he got up people's noses - especially the noses of those with an "agenda," but he got "leant on" by those who would prefer a puppet on the throne.

To be honest, while we are on the subject of puppets, almost ANYONE would be better than Abe. He is serving too many masters.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Also Friday, the under-fire minister said he had disciplined staff at his political office who billed an 18,230 yen visit to an S&M bar in September 2010 as a political expense. The venue in Hiroshima allows male patrons to whip tied-up female employees. “I have reprimanded my people and ordered them to pay back the cost” of the visit, he said, adding that new office spending rules were being drafted.

So...wait a minute. They were reprimanded for charging the money to political expenses and the punishment was to pay it back and the new rules are being drafted about political spending. Tying up and whipping women is Okay.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

S&M Whipping, Misused Tax Payer Money's, Tied up women ahhh the LDP at its Best.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Owning shares, in a trust or not, of companies that you can influence as a govt official is obviously a conflict of interest. People want him to do what is best for the country, not for himself, even if the value of his shares is 1 yen.

As far as his employees spending tax money on rather 'low-life' sex stuff; I can't help but wonder what sort of value they are going to add to his organization. Legal or not, it says something about their values and probably his too.

There are scummy politicians everywhere, but I expect there are darn good ones in Japan too. It seems Abe needs to find some better folks to help him screen his candidates. I am assuming he has such help and takes their advice.

All in all it's quite disappointing for Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Oh I forgot shares in a company that just broke the economy..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

“Keeping them means I’m supporting TEPCO as the minister in charge,”

This quote pretty much sums up why he has to go. The amount involved might not be big, but the attitude is clearly the exact same that led to the complacency which caused the Fukushima crisis in the first place. The government is supposed to be regulating and overseeing TEPCO, not blindly "supporting" it.

Mind you, from a guy whose staff literally uses public money to inflict physical pain on women, I suppose it would be a bit much to expect him to act in the public interest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In 2009, Ozawa became implicated in the falsification of political funding reports on 400 million yen of campaign donations to his political organization. He resigned as DPJ president in May 2009, while the investigation was still ongoing,[19

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Ozawa's nickname was Shadow Shogun As about all male elected politicians have money scandals, no big deal;?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Senseiman

Mind you, from a guy whose staff literally uses public money to inflict physical pain on women

Nope.

It's a bar where the customer of on the receiving end.

Consenting adults, all legal.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If someone is sworn in as a minister, the rules say he or she should refrain from share trading during their term

I'm not totally clear on how this works as a deterrent. Surely he can still influence the market as a minister, quit whenever he feels like, and then sell his shares the next day. Surely the best solution is have ministers 'opt-out' of any decisions where there is a declared conflict of interest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

oh no one of the ole boys got caught

1 ( +1 / -0 )

so, he also own tepco shares and abe also did not know that before he chose him? ugghrrr..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shouldn't he had been vetted first?

"Harvard graduate Miyazawa—a nephew of late Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and a cousin of Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida."

Oh OK that explains it - he was over qualified. (eye roll)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The LDP sado-nepotist line on ministerial objectivity:

“Keeping (the shares) means I’m supporting TEPCO as the minister in charge”

Government sans governance

0 ( +0 / -0 )

techall,

Tying up and whipping women is Okay.

Good point.

You realise, don't you, that after December, all this will be hidden from sight when Abe's "secrecy law" comes into effect.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Zorken

I'm pretty sure the situation you describe would be called Insider Trading. Given his position, he would almost certainly receive jail time.

My question to all the inevitable down voters: given his position, any decision he makes will affect every stock traded in Japan. Why are we concentrating on tepco exclusively?

All or nothing, guys. Either politicians are allowed to retain their investments while in office or they're not. When the DPJ downvotes legislation it impacts the market as well. We as a society have taken politicians at their word where investment trusts are concerned until now, and prosecuted them when they're dishonest.

Is it the investments in general or tepco in particular that is the issue here?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

frack is there anybody in J gov who isnt tarnished or corrupt in some way...... OK dont answer that. yes i know that theres corruption in all countries Gov, but it seems that in Japan corruption is spread like Ebola

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Bertie: You recomended /Ozawa and I wrote about Ozawa's money scandal. Do you have anyine else you can recommend to LDP people?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's a bar where the customer of on the receiving end. Consenting adults, all legal.

Actually the article clearly states the exact opposite:

The venue in Hiroshima allows male patrons to whip tied-up female employees.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"denying any conflict of interest and insisting he would never sell them."

..Isn't the point of owning stock, ultimately, to cash them in?

Unless of course he's saying he owns so much stock that he has control of the company?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Would it be that bad of an idea to appoint someone to Cabinet who has expertise in their portfolio, but ISN'T CONNECTED TO THE BLOODY INDUSTRY BY THEIR WALLET??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sensimen: You are right about club and its business.
0 ( +0 / -0 )

Didn't Japan do pretty well from the 1950s to the early 1980s under the LDP?

Why neglect to mention the LDP's record in office since the early 80s?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If I could open a S&M club where people pay cash to whip politicians, well, I'd be rich!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Conflict of interest? Is Miyazawa serving as a board of director? The lengths that people go through to expand the definition is amazing. He's a trade and industry minister. You can basically make an argument that people that are appointed in that position shouldn't own any stocks for he does conceivably make decisions that affect any industry.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

S&M??

These people are perverts!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

SM Bars? I've read about these kind of bars in Japan.

These are the type of bars where you drink and pay the Women to kiss you and then slap you around at the same time while you wear little black leather shorts - right?

And I guess that gets dudes excited.

I just don't see the excitement in that kind of recreation.

And if the politicians are spending tax money on that kind of recreation then those politicians should be "disciplined".

LOL - this story is just too funny.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

In Japan, the minster of each ministry is an appointed politician, Career politician who aspre flor political up up ham business of Ministry. I feel sorry for employees of each ministry that have to work under the politicslly ambitious Ministers. How about finding civilians for ministers? Civilians who are not politically ambistous but expert in the field of Ministry? The people who do not have connection with any pressure groups?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A woman at a local Kindergaten commented in recent days " My kids repeatedly hear the news of politician and SM clubs and the ask Mom what are SM Clubs?, I don't know what to answer!! I guess the best answer would be that there's not enough money in the system for a tax cut to the contrary it will continue increase or to improve their education facilities or to quickly fix the situation of the victims of the Fukushima tragedy but that there is plenty to play at SM Clubs!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@judy: First time I found this article, I thought what's abput S M Chocolate.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, well, well. How about that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lNot a big deal''

Agriculture Minister: He is famous on yelling at speaker at meetings. the words a majority of Kapanese never used in their life beside Kozou! Damare ! Omae, etc. JCP wrote in kkahata thet he gets donation (illegal) from Sara-kin Associations. (loan shark Assoc) 2011 aug an animal corporation got bankrupted. the company donated 1250000 yen since 2006 to 201o donate. His eldest son was hired as an adviser.so company gave donation to get his help Many more.'

Amother Todai Harvard blue blood politician - not all too many and too big money each. Shiozaki ... Donation – Political Organiztion of loan shark donated Party ticket sales fees, he received Office expenses: 2007/7/20、2005に13300000 yen how used is not clear 21000000 yen use monthly rent 100000 (annual 2400000 yen phone lease etc 5300000 but can not find how left over 13300000 are used Politica; fund Party 2007/4 and 2007/7 made 38000000 yen He lets his office empkoyees to spend money as they wished, There are illegal donation problem such as eel kabayaki business donation related to anti monopoly law but I will skip as too big money each.e support Japanse agriculture vigorousely but he has no class in his yelling against meeting speakers

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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