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Obuchi under pressure to resign over political donations misuse

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Yeah, "resign" to some other position within the same party, instead of being prosecuted as she should be. Par for the course in Japan, I guess -- gotta be corrupt to succeed in politics.

4 ( +13 / -10 )

She should be the next pm.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Anyone remember Sachiko Nomura, wife of the famous baseball manager? At one stage Sachi was all over the media, until she had a tax audit and got pinged for deducting underwear and clothing as expenses. Obviously, Sachi is now out of the limelight.

If Obuchi doesn't go it just highlights the inequalities that are present in this so-called "egalitarian" society.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

When I wrote here that she was only elected a member of the diet for a reason that she was a daugher of the prime minister who died while he was on his job. After her father's death, she succeeded all her father's staff and the system his father used for elections. And in the elections, she left all the matter involving the election to them. I don't know she wanted to become a diet member and she is entitled to be a member of the diet but she had to run for elections. If not, all the staff lost their jobs by his father's sudden death.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

You actually think this is a big deal int he grand scheme of things? She is one of the few rising stars in Japan. To want her to be prosecuted or brought down over something like this is idiotic.

-17 ( +4 / -20 )

She's gotta go, If she were in any other party, her departure would have been a messy done deal already. However, she is a member of Jiminto, which is famous for its "corruption," so she might be saved somehow. Jiminto ... leaves a bad taste of corruption in the mouth ...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Was she selected because she was going to promote a return to nuclear power? If so, I don't care the reason, she's got to go. Bring in someone rational who can turn Japan into the renewable power example to the world that it could be.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Stephanie - it IS a big deal.

I'll never forget how jiminto hounded Maeda of minshuto over receiving a 5 man(few hundred dollars) donation from an 88year(?) old woman who was a life time family friend, and - oh - happened to be of korean descent.It was disgusting and played up as a national security issue.

Here, Obuchi, a mere cut-out promoted by the obuchi clan machinations (as schopenhaauer pointed out), misused funds to the tune of millions of yen (100,000s of $), so she and the clan cronies should expect to get the full bench-press. The only rising star she represents is the star in abe's eyes when he mists over the good ol' days.

And the only idiotic thing in all of this, is why such corruption has gone on unabated, without heavy scrutiny over the decades - weak opposition and weaker media.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Do you really think the powerful political elite were not aware of this, even before she got placed in her present position. This stinks of a political set up to fall manoeuvre, the media were surmising she would run for PM, that must have ruffled a few feathers, and then this story appears. Oh the thought of a woman running Japan, nah !!! remember this is Japan.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

She is getting preferential treatment just because she's the daughter of a dead prime minister. Remember the guy who took political funds and made international news for wailing like a baby on during a news conference? How is that any different from what Obuchi is doing? How is what she's doing any different from what Muneo Suzuki did and had to serve time for? She needs to hang up her political career at minimum, and maybe even face more serious charges for this

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Can she weather the gale? The handwriting is on the wall.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

misused funds to the tune of millions of yen (100,000s of $)

Millions of yen is tens of thousands of dollars, not hundreds of thousands.

Though it appears that she claimed 10 million yen in expenses, which would be around $100,000.

You actually think this is a big deal int he grand scheme of things?

10 million yen in misused public funds most definitely is a big deal. It shows a lack of integrity, and a disrespect to the people who generate those funds (the tax-paying populace).

7 ( +7 / -0 )

When I wrote here that she was only elected a member of the diet for a reason that she was a daughter of the prime minister who died while he was on his job. After her father's death, she succeeded all her father's staff and the system his father used for elections. And in the elections, she left all the matter involving the election to them. I don't know she wanted to become a diet member and she is entitled to be a member of the diet but she had to run for elections. If not, all the staff lost their jobs by his father's sudden death.

So, she simply inherited her father's "system" aka corruption...and just wanted the staff to keep their jobs... or maybe she contributed to her father's corruption...or it's in her genes... whatever... she needs to quit and make things right. What is her father thinking of this all from "above"?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

She's at least a good ten years from being considered "old" enough to get the job as P.M. unless Minshuto had a great,untainted,charasmatic person who could win allowing her to be fastracked to the premiership.This money revelation is simply to derail Abe's agenda,weaken his authority and remind the public that Jiminto haven't changed whether male or female in position of power.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

All of this talk about prosecution - I haven't read if she actually broke the law. Perhaps someone could be specific about that point.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm disappointed in her. She was so promising. Remember that article here speculating her as the first female prime minister. That's too bad. I call for justice and grace. .

She is the same as a sobbing Nonomura. Some people like hot springs others like cosmetics. She should take responsibility. Except taking responsibility should not be her resignation. Let some committee decide that but she should continue.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

"Obuchi, the daughter of a former prime minister, has rock solid political credentials and has been feted as a modern career woman, offering a role model in a country where successful working mothers are few and far between."

So the spawn of a former Prime Minister makes the spawn have rock solid political credentials, and the fact the media fetes her as blah blah blah. Why am I not surprized by the mess Japan's politics is continually in. I sure miss Sun light eating Hatoyama who his wife said is actually from Venus.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If she isnt axed, it will be yet another sad indictment on the Abe regime. As Strangerland points out - this was money provided by the hard work of tax-payers. A LOT of money.

Abe is simply gonna have to find another token to decorate his sham cabinet.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If they find that she knowingly broke the law, then she has to be prosecuted. If it was the people running her affairs, then she should probably step down, and the people responsible should be prosecuted. Then I say they should put every single member of the Diet, including the accusers, under a microscope. If wrongdoing is found, more prosecutions. Of course the latter will never happen...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Please - someone - Has she actually broken any laws? The eithics of it all is a separate issue - I just want to know if an actual law was broken. Thank you in advance to anyone who really knows the answer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Sherman

You are being sarcastic I hope. She's not even qualified for her current position. I hope she's prosecuted for misappropriating public funds.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stephanie: "To want her to be prosecuted or brought down over something like this is idiotic."

Sorry, Steph, but she misused 10 million yet that she ADMITS to. Sorry if you think the taxpayers are 'idiotic' for not wanting to put up with that in a government who says they have no choice but to raise taxes (as such, to cover their expenses).

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This criminal must be prosecuted and prevented by law from being able to run for office again. In addition, her personal assets must be stripped as a penalty and she must be personally liable for all the costs of her criminal investigation. When cancer exists you have to remove it at the point of origin or it comes back. This woman represents the future generation of politicians in Japan. She must be made an example of and cut off swiftly and treated with the same disdain that she has shown to people who acted in good faith to support her.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This story reminds me of the time when I was chatting with a business men regarding voting and taxes. Foreigners have no voice yet the Gov still takes the tax. Tax without representation. The businessman said, well the crime is low, and its pretty safe here in Japan so that is where some of your tax money is spent. I agreed while how much of the yen made goes into that is unknown. In any case I brought up the subject of corruption in those paid officials of the gov by tax payer dollars but yet the foreigner has not voice even though the tax is paid. The businessman's answer was well that doesn't happen in Japan, so there's no need for the foreigner to have a voice. Err. excuse me, how many just within the last 4 months have been caught stealing lots of tax payers money, spent, shopping, extravagant lifestyles, etc...which brings up the comments from Sendai considering how things are viewed in Japan.

If a foreigner is seen stealing then its stealing, example during the great earthquake, but when a Japanese national does it, its not considered or viewed as stealing, its "well he needed it" Same for the above story, she needed the items.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

strangerland - thanks for commenting on my numbers.

By millions, I meant millions - 10mill, 12 mill, 18mill, 25mill - who knows at the mo. At any rate, all of which equates to $100, 000s. And that is just the suspected amount at this point in time for theater tickets, baby clothes, leeks, baseball tickets and other sundry items.

And I wholeheartedly agree with you re it's disrespectful to the tax payers. I'd actually take it a step further and call it theft from the tax payers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Once again I am reminded of de Maistre's telling quote "Every country has the government it deserves". And the following two comments from this article demonstrate that perfectly:

Obuchi, the daughter of a former prime minister,

Political funding rules in Japan do not explicitly bar much aside from outright bribery.

Japanese voters have abdicated their responsibility by simply choosing to continue to elect generation after generation of career politicians and then do nothing when these folks pass laws that allow them to get away with murder. If you are simply going to shrug your shoulders and mutter "shoganai", then this will continue to be the rule, rather than the exception.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

A lot a comments are going on about Obuchi misusing tax moneys and comparing her actions to (the sobing) Nonomura's actions. But is that accurate? Laws may well have been broken and I certainly think at the least she is guilty of a lack of oversight of the bodies working on her behalf. However, isn't the money that is thought to have been misused actually political donations that her support groups received, or personal funds, not money dispersed to her by the government? I may be wrong about this, does anyone have a good link to an article that clarifies the source of the misused funds?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

at least she didn't cry like a baby, what a proud woman.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Latest .... from Nikkei

Japan's newly appointed trade and industry minister plans to resign following reports that some of her support groups misused political funds, Japanese media said on Saturday.

Yuko Obuchi, the 40-year-old daughter of a former premier, has told people close to Abe that she plans to resign and take responsibility for a furore she caused, .

"What I have to do right now is to conduct a thorough investigation into the political".

She will not meet Abe when he comes back to Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"But she is now facing claims that, over the five years to 2012, her political funding body spent more than 10 million yen on things unconnected to politics, including cosmetics and accessories at a department store."

Oh good grief, we're talking 2 million yen a year of political funds technically being misused, with some aides buying some cosmetics and accessories at a department store.

"Political funding rules in Japan do not explicitly bar much aside from outright bribery. They are generally interpreted to allow for spending on the running of offices and promotion of individuals."

Heck, wouldn't some cosmetics and accessories fall under "promotion of individuals? I don't see any huge problem here compared to the collossal waste of billions and billions of yen of taxpayer money being misused by the Japanese government.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Will be mor. / Following, I found on Japan Times

Her chosen successor will need to be appointed soon, and it will be the new appointe''s call to decide whether to reactivate some of the 48 commercial nuclear reactors across the country that have been offline since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Obuchi, a daughter of late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, has been a rising star among female lawmakers, and has sometimes been touted as the most likely candidate to be appointed Japan's first female prime minister.

Abe apparently tried to use her popularity to soften public resistance to his policy of restarting the nation's nuclear plants.

As far as public image is concerned, it will be very difficult for him to find a better industry minister than Obuchi.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If Maehara was forced out for accepting a mere 50,000 yen from someone who was not of pure blood (although she'd been born in Japan), then Obuchi has to go for this many-times-larger swindle.

And enjoy this one while it lasts, folks. Once the secrecy laws come into effect in about 6 weeks, matters such as this which inconvenience our Five Families ruling Elite will be redesignated as "matters of State Security" and any reporter who finds out about them will be expected to keep his mouth shut or face a ten-year gaol stretch.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Regarding the theater tickets mentioned in the first paragraph, this is very vague. Is it a case of people from Obuchi's staff or family using the money to go watch plays?

Or is it referring to what the Japanese media has reported about special annual closed events at a theater in Tokyo organized for supporters? For these events the participants paid 12,000 each, they were bused from Gunma into Tokyo for the one-day program. At the theater they heard speeches from leaders of their supporters group, also some words from Obuchi who sometimes brought her children (she didn't attend thus year because she had just become minister and was too busy), ate a boxed lunch, and then enjoyed a performance such as by an Enka singer, before the trip home. There is apparently some discrepancy between the income from the tickets sold to participants and the costs of renting the theater etc. If Obuchi's side spent more on the event than they brought in from ticket sales it would constitute giving illegal gifts to voters which is wrong but not the same as Obuchi and her people misusing money to treat themselves to a life of luxury.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Still, I can't help but wonder if she was simply caught up in an organization set up by her father. Of course, she should have paid attention to that if she didn't. But it does look more like she kind of knew things.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The reports of many media is that her political backup organizations misused the finds. And Obuchi is taking responsibility as she feels she should keep eyes on the financial deals by her backup organizations (ko-en-kai)/ and her plan is that she will concentrate on working on improving regulation of political donations and speniding of Japan as Japanese regulation of political funds and spending laws have been haywire. And sounds like she will resign and Abe;s aides have big headache to look for someone who has same kind of understanding of Kokyo- Keiyei and other ,,matters as she does. Some people stated that she is inexperienced young girl. But she is not a freshman or 2nd term Diet member so the headache come when the cabinet have to look replacement. There are older Diet members who only have one or two terms elected and old does not mean experienced in political field. We will have to wait to see if she really is resigning or not and have to learn if she spent $20,000 a year or not, too. She probably will check all the financial records of her bakup organization.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ gokai_wo_maneku "Still, I can't help but wonder if she was simply caught up in an organization set up by her father."

I really think that is a big part of this. She inherited the supporters and organization from her father and the old ways of rewarding supporters with gifts or money is really entrenched. One of the things she mentioned when this first broke was that she gave gifts of baby clothing sets to people she was obliged to when they had babies. She also purchased neckties and handkerchiefs designed by her older sister, who is a professional illustrator and has a store with her husband, for use as presents when making overseas visits. But again not with tax monies.

Anyway, I think even if she wanted to have an entirely clean organization it would have been very difficult for her to buck the system in place. But that doesn't excuse it and she will have to take responsibility in some form.

And Toshiko is right, although she was young when first elected she didn't, as someone suggested, move directly from Hello Kitty to the Diet. She had already quit her job at TBS broadcasting and was working for her father as a secretary before he died.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obuchi, the daughter of a former prime minister, has rock solid political credentials...

Daddy was a politician, so I'm qualified. Please explain.

Sadly, just like more than 40% of the rest of Japanese politicians....sons, daughters and close relatives of other politicians.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

mistakes happen she is going to be the a PM sooner or later why delay it? Japan needs a female leader

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@karlrb

Please - someone - Has she actually broken any laws? The eithics of it all is a separate issue - I just want to know if an actual law was broken. Thank you in advance to anyone who really knows the answer

I hope you're joking, otherwise this is a REALLY ignorant question to be asking! In simple terms, she took money that doesn't belong to her and used it for personal use. This is THEFT! It's beyond an issue of ethics! If you did this at work, you'd be arrested for embezzlement. Misappropriation of PUBLIC FUNDS (tax payer money -your and my money) is a SERIOUS offense and carries serious penalties. I would be extremely disappointed in the JGOV (again) if she gets off Scot free for this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Mirai Hayashi "This is THEFT! I" "Misappropriation of PUBLIC FUNDS (tax payer money -your and my money) is a SERIOUS offense and carries serious penalties"

What did she steal? What public funds did she misappropriate? You might want to re-read the article and some of the above comments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What did she steal? What public funds did she misappropriate?

(As a disclaimer my understanding of this could be outdated, so apologies if I'm wrong). Politicians in Japan aren't allow to directly fund raise as individuals only as parties. The parties then distribute these funds to the individuals. Part of the drive to end corruption was to introduce political fund subsidies for parties from public finances. If this system is still true - then some of the money in her fund may well have been public funds.

I haven't read if she actually broke the law. Perhaps someone could be specific about that point.

If the theatre trips were not paid for by members then it constitutes a 'gift' to her constituents - which would be illegal under election law. Other points are up to how a prosecutor would interrupt things. If she can't prove that buying baby clothes etc. were part of her election campaigning - then that would also be against the law (which specifically limits the use of funds). Lastly there are apparently discrepancies in the reporting of expenses from the campaign group. All finances are supposed to be reported - if they have failed to do that honestly then it's a breach of political funding laws.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You gotta love Japanese politics. There is no such thing as a real resigning. It's just a shuffle to another political position. No big deal. It happens with PM all the time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Got following info on Japan Today....Obuchi and Matsushima. Other three, we will read on Yasukuni related story, .

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to accept the expected resignation of trade and industry minister Yuko Obuchi over the alleged misuse of political funds, a government source said Sunday.

Obuchi has told people close to Abe she plans to resign to take responsibility for irregularities in the financial reports of her support groups, according to a different government source.

She plans to meet with Abe on Monday and submit her letter of resignation, and Abe is expected to accept it, the source said.

"We should not prolong this problem," a source close to Abe said Sunday.

Obuchi's resignation will deal a severe blow to Abe, who appointed five women as new Cabinet ministers when he reshuffled his Cabinet on Sept. 3 in his bid to underline aim of promoting the status of women here.

Abe has already started searching for candidates to fill Obuchi's post.

They are lawmakers who served as Cabinet ministers in the past, and who therefore have less chance of being caught up in any political scandal, sources said.

Obuchi is set to face opposition lawmakers at a meeting Monday of a special committee promoting provincial areas in the Lower House of the Diet.

She is expected to be grilled over the scandal.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers are ready to take aim at Justice Minster Midori Matsushima, who has been accused of violating the election campaign law.

Matsushima, one of the five new female ministers, allegedly distributed "uchiwa" paper fans to participants attending summer festivals in her No. 14 constituency in Tokyo.

Handing out goods of a certain value, possibly including items such as fans, to voters is prohibited under Japanese law.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@zorken

Thanks for that. You could be right but I'm too tired to research it fully. I'll just say one reason I remain unconvinced on the issue of whether it was tax monies misused is that whenever such a case comes to light it is usual for someone on every news program or such dealing with it to say that the politician should remember that it is the taxpayers', not his own, money that he is using. In Obuchi's case I have seen it taken up on many different TV programs but haven't heard a single such comment. I have also read many newspaper articles in Japanese and English and the only place I have seen tax monies mentioned has been right here in the comments on Japan Today.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Educator60

Did YOU read the article? She stole 10M JPY and spent it on personal things. This is illegal!!

Political funding rules in Japan do not explicitly bar much aside from outright bribery. They are generally interpreted to allow for spending on the running of offices and promotion of individuals.

How did cosmetics and and accessories go to running of the office and promotion of individuals?

over the five years to 2012, her political funding body spent more than 10 million yen on things unconnected to politics, including cosmetics and accessories at a department store.

THIS is what she did wrong. This self-entitled woman felt she could use tax payer money on PERSONAL things. THIS is illegal. It is just as bad as some politician spending it on onsen trips and vacation resorts.

She knows she is guilty, that is why she is thinking of resigning. This party is so damn corrupt, I don't understand how they can get reelected over and over again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Keizanen began to check election contribution regulation, Right now, any corporations can not donate moewy to any candidate. Donatipn to Party, then distribute to each candidate, and home office and Tokyo office of the candidate have to keep their books intact. Becaise ot the first witch hunt was against Obuchi, secpnd pme fpllowed fpr Minister of Jistice who was going to be punished ffirst her scarf sin beside new one. Political; office is prohibited to giive anything in Japan. If you visit their office, never drink a free cup of water. Return paper cup or the politician will be in trouble. Well, 3 more witch hunt to go. They visited Yasukuni,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mirai Hayashi at Oct. 20, 2014 - 08:01AM JST "@Educator60 Did YOU read the article? She stole 10M JPY and spent it on personal things."

Yes, I did, as well as many other articles and watching many reports on TV. I am not going to write my comments again but Nowhere have I seen/heard it said she stole tax monies. Do you understand the term "political donation"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How is using political funds for PERSONAL USE not stealing? It was NOT related to any she does politically. It doesn't help her get reelected, it doesn't pay people's salary, it doesn't run her office, or help her serve the people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why she is accused? She did not steal anything. Two of her support association (Koenkai) misusewd money and did not keep record intact. So, Obuchi took responsibility as she did not keep eyes on the record. Her support grpi[ss confessed. Again she did not steal as these money, only sipport groups could touch. Two groups, not others either. Cjeck LDP officialds and media offices. She had no control of money given to support groups because she is not a member of supoort group accounting dept. There is no theft investigations in neither Ginma nor Tokyo at their LEA offices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Mirai Hayashi "This self-entitled woman felt she could use tax payer money on PERSONAL things."

Misuse of funds and inaccurate financial reports are wrong/illegal. However we do not yet know the details, or even whether she had knowledge of any misuse or was herself involved in any way. And in any case, no amount of jerking knees can change political donations into tax monies.

She has resigned and is expected to do a press conference soon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She resigned.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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