politics

Obuchi apologizes after political funds misuse reports

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By Linda Sieg

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his first cabinet was relatively scandal-free.

You have to go "oh-oh" when that's regarded as a good point for a prime minister.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Obuchi’s political funding oversight body had spent about 3.6 million yen over five years from 2008 at a clothing shop run by her sister’s husband

Wait, so the funding oversight boy was the one that misused funds? What's next, a story about a criminal that's actually a cop? Oh, wait, that happens all the time... Never mind.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

So her job is to "gain public trust for restarting nuclear plants"? I wouldn't trust her to babysit my kids knowing now how she funnelled public money to her relatives.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

So much for "future prime minister."

13 ( +13 / -0 )

First there's an article on JapanToday about how Obuchi might become Japan's first female prime minister. Then this. If I were a conspiracy fan, I'd say some good old boy from Nagatacho decided to squash any hopes of Japan having a female prime minister and 'leaked' this info, which was probably a well-known secret within the halls of government. Well-known because every Japanese politician does it, I suspect.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Well, that's that. She apologized from the bottom of her heart. How touching. Isn't this all the elite have to do in Japan to avoid any form of punishment?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

She's telegenic?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Article states: “I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the fuss created by my private matter,”

Are you serious? So when this this "fuss become a private matter"? This shows that Obuchi only saw opportunity to use political money to further her own political ambitions. Her actions have shown us the true face of Obuchi. She has no problem misusing public funds for her own personal ambitions while gladly seeking retribution against anyone who gets in his way. Ethics is not in her vocabulary. Time to resign.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Abe had chosen woman ministries only because they were women. This is of gender discrimination. They must be chosen by their skills, not sex.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

In a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his newly appointed trade minister was ensnared in controversy on Thursday after reports that her political funds were spent buying theater tickets for supporters and goods from relatives’ businesses.

Abe picked Yuko Obuchi, the 40-year-old daughter of a former prime minister,

Anybody who does not think the second quote is related to the first, is simply blind to the reality of politics in Japan. Somewhere around 40% of the Diet I believe is second or third-generation politicians, and many of the cabinet members are relatives of fomer PM's. They grow up watching their elders get rich playing the system, and simply follow in the family tradition -- feeding from the public trough. As exemplified by her comment:

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the fuss created by my private matter,”

Mis-using political funds is not a "private matter". When will Japanese voters learn they can do better?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Article state: "Obuchi’s constituency had spent some 26 million yen on theater tickets for her backers in 2010 and 2011"

She spent $260,000 on theatre tickets that they know of? And it took this long to disclose this? And it's a private matter? Might be alot more to this story. What else did she spend it on that we don't know. Obuchi needs to resign.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

She's telegenic?

Well, have you seen the average Japanese politician?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Another J-politician with sticky fingers? Nothing new! Move one people! Nothing new to see here!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Abe had chosen woman ministries only because they were women. This is of gender discrimination. They must be chosen by their skills, not sex.

There are millions of competent women to choose from.

It won't hurt Japan if for the next four years everyone made a pact to only elect and appoint women.

Looking for just-the-perfect-person in a field where perfection isn't much needed only tends to boost their representation of their own worth and justify higher government salaries.

Expansion of audit divisions would help a lot government a lot more than looking for perfect people.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hahahahahaha! First Female Prime Minister?! Hahahahaha!

All off the hype train! Hahahahah!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

i smell something fishy. abe hires a couple of women and suddenly scandal upon scandal comes out. first the older woman who was photgraphed with a rightwing extremist and now this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the fuss created by my private matter”

Spinning this as a private matter is vile. Charlatan!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Don't forget that very soon, we won't even get to hear about it under the new "secrecy law"...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

SenseNotSoCommon : Spinning this as a private matter is vile. Charlatan!

Probability of translation of "private matter" to English with her original intent intact?

She didn't say "keep out of my private matters". Probably.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the fuss created by my private matter,” Obuchi said in response to questions at a panel in the upper house.

She should be sacked for thinking political slush funds are a private matter.

If I were a conspiracy fan, I'd say some good old boy from Nagatacho decided to squash any hopes of Japan having a female prime minister and 'leaked' this info

You're falling victim to the same thinking. Politicians get taken down all the time; having enemies is part of the job. Why assume it's because she's a woman?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And you think this is serious, you should see what the others in govt have been doing, this is minor in comparison.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The political class in Japan is completely corrupt, along with their support groups. They inherit their positions from daddy, like Ms. Obuchi, no matter how dumb they are. They just want to come to Tokyo and be big-shots, eat at expensive restaurants, etc etc. They wil never allow reapportion of votes because they would lose their jobs and nobody would hire them, even to work at a convenience store. That is why in the most extreme case, one country hick vote is worth 7 city votes. This is not helped by the fact that Japan is actually run by bureaucrats. No democracy to speak of here.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Garbage in, garbage out. As the zen madter said...

Nepotism, back patting, amakudari and what have you...? Japan sure knows how to pick its politicians. The docile masses have no clue, no yaruki, no will, it seems, to take the reins and actually improve this country.

Obuchi apologized at a Diet panel for the controversy after the reports of misuse of funds, possibly violating electoral and political funding laws, hit the newsstands on Thursday.

Great. If I violate some laws of my choosing - can I also apologize and bow my little bow, squeeze out a few fake apologies and get off the hook?! Japan is such a quasi-democracy. Makes me sick to my stomach...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Prime Minister Abe (trying to put positive spin on it): "While unfortunate, I think the bigger point to be taken from this incident is that finally we have found a recently appointed female member of my cabinet who had the foresight to have not been photographed with Nazis and instead chose the traditional misuse of funds route for her first scandal. That is something special."

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well, if she's already mis-using funds then maybe she is indeed in line to be the first female PM. That's one of the highest on the list of requirements to be Japan's PM, after all.

So, so far this woman is failing to listen to the majority of Japanese who don't want any NPPs restarted (even though she thinks it's okay because she is a mother), she is in league with Neo-Nazis, has misused money to prop up relatives and curry favor with voters, and is yet another example of a nepotistic politician in general. Sounds about right.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Check any J Politiicians on Wikipedia. Choose Japanese Language. About everyone has Controversial money received and controversial spending - many many items. Freshman politicians to veterans. About everyone.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Stop the presses! A politician in Japan 'mis-using' public funds! It'd be much MUCH bigger news when the find a politician in this country that hasn't stolen public money to reward his or her supporters or family (cue Mission Impossible theme song).

This isn't 'mis-use'. This is embezzlement and theft.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

toshiko : Check any J Politiicians on Wikipedia. Choose Japanese Language. About everyone has Controversial money received and controversial spending - many many items. Freshman politicians to veterans. About everyone.

Maybe it'd be worth it for all nations to put these funds under the management of government agencies instead of leaving it to the politicians or their campaigns.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

didn't the same thing happen to tanaka? she was also mentioned as a potential future prime minister and then suddenly she was ensnared in a scandal. seems like the old-boy's network likes to chop the trees before it grows too high.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Politics in Japan is about nepotism, that is for sure. And it does not seem to be helpful. Of course the best example of abject failure of a father-son combination is the bush family. Nearly derailed the US economy entirely that one did.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Qualifications to be MP/minister:

Father was a politician

2....umm, see 1. above

That's it. Good night

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Its no surprise to see this kind of corruption go on and on when the voting public continue to twiddle their thumbs and dont say a word.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the fuss created by my private matter”

Standard weasel words from a dynastically corrupt elitist. She doesn't apologise for any wrongdoing, just for the fuss getting caught with her fingers in the till might cause.

she believed the payments to her sister’s shop fell within the scope of political activities

If she seriously expects anyone to believe this, she clearly has nothing but contempt for the electorate. Good luck building trust. Not that it will be needed. Just redirect the funds from sisters' shops to brown envelopes and the rubber stamps will start rolling in.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

"her political funds were spent buying theater tickets for supporters and goods from relatives’ businesses"

Huh? And her male counterparts are squickey clean? Yeaah Right.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Abe didn't select "females", he selected extreme right-wing or politically-connected females who agreed and supported his agenda. He selected women like Obuchi, daughter of an LDP Prime Minister, who despite her extreme wealth still sees public funds as free game. Mind you, compared to the hundreds of billions of yen Ishihara gifted to right-wing construction firms (through Shin Ginko) in the form of loans that would never be repaid, this amount of money is nothing. The Japanese expect this of their politicians and do not see minor amounts of pilfering as much of a problem.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

credit should go to the ones helping this story popped-up. let see what will happen once the secret law comes into force in two months time.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And the nobles inheritance and status continues while the working poor are kept silent. Japan would be better off to end the internal dynasty's and place new people with no dynasty ties.

"Yuko Obuchi, the 40-year-old daughter of a former prime minister, to head the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)"

4 ( +4 / -0 )

She isn't qualified to be Prime Minister anyway. No biggie.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is suppose to be the first female PM in the making? But having said that, I guess crookedness has to be a part of her resume.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

26 million on theater tickets. Ouch.

Did they get free pop corn with the tickets?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“I don’t think she will have to resign. " Quite telling, remember when the DPJ was in power I remember Kan and his ministers being hounded by the media and facing immediate resignation calls for the smallest of things, eg. Maehara accepting a 5 man yen donation from a zainichi Korean yakitori stall obaachan who knew him since he was a kid. Yet, when its a LDP minister and the amounts are tens of millions yen , somehow apology seems sufficient. Just shows how well the old boys media network is connected to LDP...cant wait to see how NHK will minimize reporting and gloss over this for as long as possible.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

marcelito, yeah, it is quite staggering how far the media and the bureaucracy are in the hands of the LDP. They did an amazing hatchet job on the DPJ and managed to hound e.g. Maehara out of office, but they think nothing of one of their own helping themselves to public funds. This should be a criminal offence as it is clearly stealing, but the semi-feudal Japanese don't seem to care about their politicians stealing from them. In fact, they largely expect to be stolen from. In a couple of months from now we might find such stories as this one cannot even be reported unless they're not about LDP members or the right-wing elite of course, in which case there will be huge doses of overkill in Japan's compliant media.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

26 million on theatre tickets? I wonder what was showing. The importance of being Earnest?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Remember when it all kicked off in the UK that politicans were spending public funds on their husbands porn / bath plugs / getting their moats cleaned etc etc? How many of those were hauled over the coals, made to resign, etc. It happens in every country but only in Japan is it business as usual when found out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When daddy the incumbent PM, Keizo Obuchi, died some 15 years ago, this useless and spoilt non-entity of a woman suddenly became a Diet member. Why? What experience (except nothing) had this person to qualify for such a position? Daddy's sheeple flocked to her as usual. Now we see after 15 years of vile nepotism BS, how stupid this woman really is if she dares to spew her "private matter" excuses at us. The reporters should have thrown this back at her and held her to task. I would have demanded to know why this was a "private matter". And to ask why she would insult the public with such an unintelligent statement. But wait, if they or I had, the media company represented would not have been invited back to the next briefing. How is this a democracy? Until Japan rids itself of these parasites, we should not expect anything less.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Another sign of how the country hicks are destroying Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Really bad conflict of interest in giving business to her family. They must be pissed. She lost my trust. There should be some kind of punishment. Hope she won't be another crying politician.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

marcelito - NHK already minimized this on last nights 9:00 news. It reported it, but went into far less detail than news station @ 10:00 (which is to be expected).

But the classic comment was made by nhk's anchor when he said to the effect that " I hope she can correct this quickly so she can return to her important duties esp nuclear energy"

Investigative, questioning journalism at it's best.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Its not blood that courses through their vains but corruption that keeps them alive, handed down from one generation to the next.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They say that when you see one gokiburi (cockroach), there are 30 more you can't see.

It's the same in politics.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the fuss created by my private matter

Your private matter? Oh sorry Obuchi, please forgive us, we didn't want to disrupt your activities of corruption, they are surely a total private matter and who dare to interfere with your private life?

So now, just make sure to pass the message to NHK so that they explain to the sheep living in Japan also called Japanese people that they shouldn't give importance to the corruption of Japanese politicians because it's their private matter. The will surely listen very carefully and throw a big そうですか before to go to sleep!!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The weekly magazine Shukan Shincho reported that two political support groups in Obuchi’s constituency had spent some 26 million yen on theater tickets for her backers in 2010 and 2011. Major newspapers also followed up on the allegations made by the magazine.

Some have CORRECTLY pointed out media failings above, NOTE the last sentence above.

Major media were NOT going to report this(censorship is HUGE here), now they HAVE TO because a weekly rag "broke" the story!............

I cant believe why more Japanese don't question their media they are so obviously corrupt, just like govt, bureaucrats & politicians,

THE ROT GOES ON UNABATED!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@NathalieBOCT. 17, 2014 - 01:03PM JST Remember when it all kicked off in the UK that politicans were spending public funds on their husbands porn / bath plugs / getting their moats cleaned etc etc? How many of those were hauled over the coals, made to resign, etc. It happens in every country but only in Japan is it business as usual when found out.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Don't compare UK or USA and Japan. Beside that, this is not public fund allegatioan.

At electiom in Japan, some people organize Ko-en-lai ot candicates. The association collect donations, spend money or brive money to voter, Japanese don't question because this kind of practice is norm in Japan. Politician keep quiet and they don;t give out by themselves. Theater tickets>? Japanese must be wondering what a cheapskate Obuchi is andwsondering who distributed tickets. Weeklies do not report now as they have to report all ko-en-kai of all politicians.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

This woman is worse than a parasite. She is a talentless one who only gave up Hello Kitty to become a lawmaker because daddy died in office. I wish she would be punished to such an extent that she is forced into a proper apology and concedes that this is a not a "private matter". How dare she suggest this. The cheek of this dumb person beggars belief. Cut her out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@DVD: I doubt she will be punished for this one. If the same action has to be punished, we will see there is not Diet members in Japan. At least she apologized. Others haven't apogized. Well, when all the Diet members get punished, at least there wii not be mass of Diet members visiting Yasukuni.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/obuchi-being-touted-as-japans-first-female-pm

Funny how this comes to light just after another report of her being touted as possibly Japan's first female PM. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in Japanese media/politics. Smear campaign anyone?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When will Japanese voters learn they can do better?

They will never learn, just as the voters in other countries will never learn. There is nothing unique about the Japanese political system, how many American presidents or senators are the sons or relatives of other presidents or senators? The political classes of the world are similar in every country, that people think that people in developed countres believe they live in democracies is quite funny.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

wow look at her picture she is still holding her hand out! This lady is not sorry she feels priviledged which is she abused her powers like all poly tic i ans

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kaimycahlOCT. 18, 2014 - 01:34PM JST wow look at her picture she is still holding her hand out! This lady is not sorry she feels priviledged which is she abused her powers like all poly tic i ans

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Oh, she is showing her palm up. She is young but knows O=te=age sign, (Sorry, I goofed).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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