politics

Trade, justice ministers quit as Abe loses 2 of his 5 women ministers

61 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI and ELAINE KURTENBACH

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61 Comments
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The power of the Old Boys Network within the party is showing how to get rid of these women, partly because they were overlooked for cushy posts as Ministers. How many more to go? Just watch how it unfolds in the next few months!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Well so far the plan to promote women in politiks is going swimmingly. It's almost like it was designed to have them fail and keep up the image of women don't belong in politics......Hmmmmm.....

1 ( +9 / -8 )

wait till abe quits with all of em. then they tell us their going to france for coffee

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Political funding scandals are a chronic problem in Japan, where gifts to constituents were banned to prevent vote buying.

I think this should read, getting caught misappropriating political funds is a huge problem in Japan. What's wrong with these mullets? Do they believe their position is to exploit and abuse the privileges of office? Do they believe they are above the law? There was that goon a few weeks ago that spent over a million yen of political donations on going to gentlemen's clubs and massage parlours. Cue judge Dread, "I am the law!"

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Politics don't stop, man. What Obuchi and the other two ministers did was wrong, but they'll be gone, and people will forget about these scandals and move on to the next news story or think about ebola or IS. Abe's first time around as PM had scandals, a person even killed themselves for crying out loud, and that almost gets play on TV here, and he became PM again after that!

so in a few days, Obuchi will be forgotten until she's re-appointed into a new position in a year or so.

The news cycle never quitting and needing the next story is going to Obuchi's best friend. Attention spans are crazy short in this digital world.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Male or female, this side of Japanese politics has not and will not change. Political blue-bloods with all the laziness, complacency and arrogance of those believing they were born to rule continue making politics in this country a joke. This is a well-educated country with many smart people who could offer something better than this and have the common sense to understand that misuse of taxpayer cash actually matters. The problem could be that these smart people are smart enough to know how difficult it is to enter this club and take their talents elsewhere.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Two down! It seems women in Japan are not ready to play with the big boys yet! Back to the kitchen and cleaning ladies!

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Jimizo- Define "well educated". :)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Don't let the door hit you ladies. So, whose names is the spinning wheel gonna land on? Perhaps Yasuo Fukuda could take a spot now.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I love that one of the ministers with ties to fascist right wingers was NOT among the women resigning....great work.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

'Jimizo- Define "well educated". :)'

The ability to read the basic characters used the script of your native language would be a good start.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All of you who say this is some witch hunt against women need to understand that it is not; it's showing these politicians for whom they are. That they are women is not the point. And no, it's not like Tanaka--she was. Target for other reasons. These women have committed crimes! Should we let the crimes go by simply because of gender? Not at all!

So much for Abe and co! Notice how none have admitted wrong-doing? That means they are waiting for Abe to go so that they can mov up again. At worst they'll keep their diet seats and move onto some other lucrative position.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Anyone could point the old bone at anyone of these politicos and they would not be wrong, they have done something under hand, under the table or by way of back hand.

They all a bunch of lying cheating scamming, corrupt, thieving, pocket lining look after the brothers type b stards.,

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All of you who say this is some witch hunt against women need to understand that it is not; it's showing these politicians for whom they are. That they are women is not the point. And no, it's not like Tanaka--she was. Target for other reasons. These women have committed crimes! Should we let the crimes go by simply because of gender? Not at all!"

But what about their male counterparts ? I am pretty sure they are in the same boat, doesn't it look like those 2 women were targeted ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Another day, another scandal. Blah, blah, blah.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As the person who chose these people, maybe Abe should show responsibility by resigning!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The power of the Old Boys Network within the party is showing how to get rid of these women

Right, because Old Boys are never taken down in political scandals.

(That was sarcasm.)
1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dysfunctional , nepotism, in breeding and a culture of expected tax payers money, nothing will change until these genetically compromised individuals are bread out. Natural selection should do the trick.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"I love that one of the ministers with ties to fascist right wingers was NOT among the women resigning....great work."

Exactly. It reminds me of neoliberal identity politics in the US. Gays who can join the military and participate in empire. Female or minority candidates for high office, with the same repellent policy ideas (proven wrong for decades).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

All of you who say this is some witch hunt against women need to understand that it is not; it's showing these politicians for whom they are. That they are women is not the point. And no, it's not like Tanaka--she was. Target for other reasons. These women have committed crimes! Should we let the crimes go by simply because of gender? Not at all!

A common saying is that honesty in politicians is relative. Without condoning what they do, they are likely doing nothing that the average politician that has a shot at ministerial rank in Japan is not doing. Which makes the sudden "taking away of the lid" look politically motivated.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Break down the grip of government bureaucracies, which slows economic growth with red tape and of encouraging an irresponsible follow-the-leader mentality. You never know what kind of deal they'll make behind the scenes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Let's look with equal scrutiny toward some of the old-guard male politicians in government. How many of those guys fall equally far from the justice and ethics tree? Many, I would guess.

I'm not saying that these women shouldn't resign. Misuse of funds is a serious matter. But let's not put too much emphasis on the fact they are women. What's more disturbing is that it's ONLY the women who are getting outed for this stuff. Are the men all innocent? Or do the old guys just have more experience at covering their tracks?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm sorry to disagree w you guys here. Normally I agree that politicians are the human equivalent of cat fish, however.....

Matsushima is my district's rep and she has done real yoemen's work on issues like working women's rights, child care and education (not sure how that equals a term as Justice Minister though....). In short, she has been the rare example of politician as dedicated public servant.

The sums for her are truly trivial. Handing out paper fans to supporters? Shocking! It doesn't support a criminal complaint and certainly not walking the plank.

Either this was the tip of the ice berg, or she got thrown under the bus to save Abe's skin. I'm betting the latter.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

These women have committed crimes!

Having your likeness printed on paper Uchiwas a crime? Really?

The article calls it 'a possible violation of the Political Funds Control Law'.

Obuchi's is also a pretty vague kind of accusation that appears not to be proven at all as a wilful crime.

Looks very shady to me. Old party mechanics at play here, he thinks.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Minister of Justice is free to wear scarf as cold winter is comings. Maybe other three felt it is coming. So, they went Yasukuni to chase inquisitive media away to stay alive until next withh hunts. two down three to go, It seems LDP is looking all over for two replacement, No more womenomics? Lady Diet members, stay away to be appointed, But it seems male Diet members resumes are piled up in Abe's office.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I assume they only resigned from the cabinet post and not completely from the Diet. Will they be replaced with more women?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I wonder about the timing of the exposure of these cases. Why now? Someone doesn't like women in high places?

I think women have not learned to cover their tracks like men have, simply due to lack of experience. The guys have decades of hiding their tracks.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

if these politicians have this kind of mentality why the people support their strange policies?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Trade, justice ministers quit as Abe loses 2 of his 5 women ministers

Oh no! The end is near for Prime Minister Abe, two women have quit his cabinet because the lame arse DPJ it's allies the CPJ made a stink where none existed!!!!

Yes folks, two female party members decided to step down rather than give the Communist loving DPJ and the other toadies of Communist China better known as Kazuo Shii and his ilk.

But, never fear freedom loving fans, this won't stop Prime Minister Abe and his cause of Liberty. He will appoint new Ministers and he will continue to fight against those freedom hating leftists.

For those on the far left with absolutely zero sense of humor the above was sarcasm and nothing else! (and to the extreme far left PC crowd, I am referring to the number 0, zero and not the Mitsubishi A6M so don't explode!)

Come on people, this was a case of politics at it's best. The DPJ and it's allies in the Communist Party of Japan used the system to get women within the LDP removed from office.

If anything this is a case of the Left showing how much they hate women who have a mind of their own!

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

The sums for her are truly trivial. Handing out paper fans to supporters? Shocking! It doesn't support a criminal complaint and certainly not walking the plank.

Agree with you, Graham.

We are also in her district and have seen her in person several times at our apartment confabs. She may have overstepped a bit, but it does sound quite trivial. My wife was saddened about the resignation, seems to like her a lot.

Too bad, and I hope she comes back swinging.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A pity it can't be Abe who quits instead

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Did these woman think that this was going to be easy? They should have realized every little thing they did would be under extreme scrutiny! This will serve as a warning to the rest of the woman in Abe's cabinet. But we must also remember the sword slices both ways! These ministers should be doing some of their own homework on the so called boys club. I'm sure it would make for very interesting reading, especially the so called clean up in Fukushima!! It should be interesting how this plays out in the long term.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"This is a well-educated country with many smart people who could offer something better than this and have the common sense to understand that misuse of taxpayer cash actually matters. The problem could be that these smart people are smart enough to know how difficult it is to enter this club and take their talents elsewhere."

This is true. For a long time the saying in Japan was "Economy first rate, politics third-rate." For a long time this was true, and also funny. Most Japanese could laugh at hearing this throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s because the country's economy was a world-beating juggernaut that seemingly no Asian or even Western nation could compete against. But those days are long gone and the saying ceased to be funny or even really true (about the economy, at least) by the late 1990s. The political class of the country remains sclerotic and in-bred and its ranks filled by people like Obuchi, Abe, the younger Koizumi and so forth. But there's no longer anything funny about it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The impact of those two female minister’s resignations will give a big blow to already bruised "Abenomics" not to mention his questionable “Womanomics” .

Yes, LDP is still able to stand on the ground at this point in Japan's political arena, but Abe’s admin has been weakened tax hike, controversial state secret law, failed foreign policy and fruitless TPP negotiation ... On top of that, Abe’s himself is losing his credibility both in domestic front and international one. Even Japan’s long-term allies now see Abe under different lens in terms of his ludgment and ability to lead Japan to weather the approaching econimc storm.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Joebigs Is there any possible topic on this planet on which you are unable to bring up 'Communist China'? Lazy, arrogant and frankly inept politicians have been found abusing taxpayers' money yet again. This isn't about the dark forces of the left which seem to whirl around in your fevered imagination. Politicians should follow the law and stop abusing people's hard-earned money. It's pretty simple.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Justice Minister Midori Matsushima resigned after the opposition Democratic Party of Japan filed a criminal complaint against her over distribution of hand-held fans, or “uchiwa.” Matsushima is also facing complaints over using parliament-provided housing while keeping security guards at her private residence in downtown Tokyo.

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DPJ filed a criminal complaint. She is the Minister of Justice. Can't she have security guard 24 hours a day to protect her from nosy DPJ? In summer, if uchiwa is not given, noisy hand held portable cooler manufacturers will increase their sales. Then she will be accused for helping an industry, In any case, a woman politicians will be a target by DPJ that believes attacking LPJ women politicians will increase voting for DPJ.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This looks like underhand political cut throat politics where the men fear women rising and taking power so what do they do, expose a scandal they I can guarantee most of them are doing. Whats wrong with handing out fans that cost 80 cents for flyers for campaigning. At least the fans serve a purpose during the hot summer months. This is scary cut throat politics!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sacrificed by the Edo old boys network who believe women have no place in the Diet let alone being ministers.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

These women may or may not have been the victims of a witch hunt, but the fact is that if they had done nothing wrong, the witch hunt would have failed. The simplest way to not be vulnerable to a witch hunt is to ensure that you have not done anything that a witch hunt can attack you with.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The sums for her are truly trivial. Handing out paper fans to supporters? Shocking! It doesn't support a criminal complaint and certainly not walking the plank.

I get what you are saying, and I sort of agree with you. But pretty clear rules about this kind of thing exist for a reason. What if she was handing out cakes, would that still be OK? Or just cut the fans and hand out 10-yen coins to people? It's easier to draw the line at an easy to understand nothing. What surprises me is these rules aren't complicated or hidden - why did no-one on her campaign team point this out?

The whole thing puts Abe's tax-hike in an interesting position now though. If he raises tax his approval ratings will probably plunge. But if he holds out then it looks like politicking - I think he'll be accused of putting his own political capital before economic interests.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

aFrom now on, you will not be able to pick up uchiws in male members' support office. Well, winter is coming but don;t expect you get cough driops there, All male MP will stop free chewing gum etc. If they keep their custom, they will have to resign now,

0 ( +1 / -1 )

joebigs:

Yes folks, two female party members decided to step down rather than give the Communist loving DPJ and the other toadies of Communist China better known as Kazuo Shii and his ilk.

Two politicians resign due to their own stupidity and it's because of the Chinese or communists. Oh yeah, also, last weekend's typhoon was because of the gays.

Had these women been DPJ, you can bet your life the LDP would have done the same. I'm sure LDP and Republicans have a lot in common - hypocrites.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

no matter the sex, or the nationality, once more we see:

Conservatives are crooks.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Political funding scandals are a chronic problem in Japan, where gifts to constituents were banned to prevent vote buying.

That makes sense. But handing out a paper flag with your information on it is mere marketing. Would a support button have qualified for an accusation, too? Kleenex packets?

However, in a culture that is steeped in a tradition of obligatory reciprocity and giving gifts is the norm, I fail to see how handing out marketing materials ranks with bribery and corruption. Or do the fools making the accusations (there's been no trial or guilt ascertained) not know the difference? So how can anyone say a "crime" has been committed?

Is there a list of allowable marketing tools for politicians in Japan? If not, there ought to be. Senbei okay. VISA dollars not. It's not difficult to determine that a diamond bracelet for a supporter's wife is a no-no. But a paper fan that is essentially a useful and culturally appropriate business card? Silly. (I have received them from mayors myself. But didn't see any of those mayors hounded out of office.) But in a bullying and shame-based culture, that's enough to cost a respected woman her job.

Ah! the old boys. No matter the culture, it's always the same.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tamarama: "Having your likeness printed on paper Uchiwas a crime? Really?"

Yes, when it is a violation of the law. It's like you guys are saying, "Come on! Give her a break! She only broke the law a LITTLE!" Why have laws at all when you are always willing to make exceptions for certain people?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

There are four 'worlds' in Japan: the underworld, the world normal people inhabit, the 'geinojin' world, and the political world. Three of them are hard to tell apart at times, and also very hard to trust.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

(I have received them from mayors myself. But didn't see any of those mayors hounded out of office.)

If the mayor or politician is already in office then there is no violation of the law which concerns electoral campaigns.

That makes sense. But handing out a paper flag with your information on it is mere marketing. Would a support button have qualified for an accusation, too? Kleenex packets?

Tissues, yes. Buttons, probably not. The law specifies that you can't give out products that give any kind of additional 'value' to the person. As a fan can be used, it's considered a step beyond marketing materials and could therefore be a violation of the law. Also while the value of a single fan might be small - it's the cumulative value of all them that will be the number used. In legal terms how this all goes down will undoubtedly fall on some absurdly petty arguments on the function and definition of a fan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I feel the uchiwa fans were a clear violation. Some experts said the round flat thick paper with a thumb hole type of fan might barely squeak through as acceptable. But Matsushima's were the type with plastic handle and ribs and paper glued to both sides. They take a fair amount of money and effort to make. And Matsushima's inept attempts to get around the definition of a fan when questioned by the opposition were embarrassing. In her press conference after resigning Monday she was digging herself in deeper by stubbornly trying to get around it still. As well as the definition of a "calendar" as opposed to a poster.

But to me the the housing issue is the more troubling area. The Diet-provided housing is said to be meant for diet members from outside Tokyo who do not have a Tokyo domicile. Matsushima apparently has her own place in Tokyo but wanted to avoid troubling her neighbors etc. so got one of the provided apartments. But then she stayed the night at her other home when an errand to pick up some clothes for the changing season ran later than she had expected. (Maybe she was taking too long trying to decided which, if any, scarves and stoles to tskd?)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They must also resign as Diets and be prosecuted accordingly. No more slap in the hand only business...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They must also resign as Diets and be prosecuted accordingly. No more slap in the hand only business...

tokyodoumo -- wishful thinking. This is Japan we are talking about afterall. Both will have resurrected their political careers and, more than likely, be ministers again with 36 months -- tops. Japan, especially the LDP, is just a revolving door of political re-treads -- just look at Abe as the best example of that. My gosh, the man walked away from the job as PM because he could not handle it, and , now, here he is back as the longest-standing PM in years. There are no "outside candidates" in the LDP, so these two's numbers will certainly come back up.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@tokyodoumoOCT. 21, 2014 - 01:32AM JST They must also resign as Diets and be prosecuted accordingly. No more slap in the hand only business..

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Are you suggesting they must resign Diet and b e prosecuted? You mean all Diet members has to resign ? You are suggesting Japan to be in chaos. ,. Write the name of criminal law applies to this case. The JP Diets will be empty JP Govt has to build jail cells to imprison about all Diet members. .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, when it is a violation of the law. It's like you guys are saying, "Come on! Give her a break! She only broke the law a LITTLE!" Why have laws at all when you are always willing to make exceptions for certain people?

Smithinjapan, there is a point when the violation is so petty, common or both that it is more the exception to actually fry anyone for them.

Countries often have laws that are dead or nearly so (or they may have a typical range of tolerance), and people knowingly or unknowingly trample on them all the time. To suddenly "reactivate" the law and persecute someone with them is a form of persecution. It is the reverse of a so called legal loophole.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes, when it is a violation of the law.

Has there been a court case to establish that the law is violated by handing out paper fans?

Did the law intend to ban people handing out paper fans?

If the answer to 1 and/or 2 is "yes", is this really a case where someone must resign, or is it a relatively trivial infringement?

It is wrong to say someone must resign simply because they have broken "the law". In some countries it is a crime to jaywalk, with what constitutes "jaywalking" differing. Littering is often a crime, even if it was accidental/not significant. In the UK, it was illegal for a time to weave baskets in public parks on a Sunday, or something like that. I am not saying this law is as ridiculous, but we should look at the offence apparently committed.

Personally, I think the paper fan issue is a trivial one that should not have resulted in a resignation. Even if the law was broken, I think the punishment should be no more than a tap on the wrist. I seriously doubt having a paper fan would influence anyone's decision at the ballot box.

Obuchi's case is different, and I can see there would be concerns about what has happened. It seems fair that she should be expected to resign whilst the matter is investigated.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

the age old promoted for your skills or gender?

..in this case getting past their gender, maybe they weren't very good then and the hope was this wouldn't be picked up because of their gender.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Quite the coincidence. Suspiciously coincidental.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This politics is at worst in Japan. If you dissect any politican in Japan, they have baggage. The opposition Democratic Party has been targeting new cabinet ministers in parliamentary debates in the hope of denting Abe's popularity. These opposition groups don't care about working together for the future of Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These witch hunts will not end anytime soon. The DPJ and CPJ are gunning for Prime Minister Abe and will do anything they can to try and unseat him. They can't beat him in the ballot boxes so they will try and beat in with technicalities.

If the DPJ had shown the people of Japan that they could do the job of leading the nation in the right direction then the DPJ would still be in office. But, the DPJ nearly ruined Japan and the people kicked them the hell out of office. Now, they are trying their darnedest to get back into office and finish what they started.

I have a question, whatever happened to all those so-called mass protests the CPJ was waging sometime back? Last I remember all they could muster were around 100 aging Communist chanting 60's slogans, then nothing.

JimizoOct. 20, 2014 - 09:05PM JST @Joebigs Is there any possible topic on this planet on which you are unable to bring up 'Communist China'?

When something is a fact why not say it?

http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/japan-opposition-leader-meets-with-chinese-officials/

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/06/25/national/politics-diplomacy/chinas-senkaku-claim-has-basis-hatoyama/#.VEV1y6PlqJA

But, I understand that some folks just can't deal with reality and would rather not see it.

JimizoOct. 20, 2014 - 09:05PM JST Lazy, arrogant and frankly inept politicians have been found abusing taxpayers' money yet again. This isn't about the dark forces of the left which seem to whirl around in your fevered imagination. Politicians should follow the law and stop abusing people's hard-earned money. It's pretty simple.

Calling someone lazy, arrogant and inept while not waiting until they have had a chance to defend themselves is well, lazy, arrogant and inept. Let justice take it's course and if they knew what they did was wrong then they will pay.

They didn't resign because they were guilty, they resigned so they couldn't be used by the left as a sideshow.

If what happened them isn't something new and was just a witch hunt by the DPJ and CPJ what will you say then? Actually I know exactly what you'll say, "they got away with it". You've already made up your mind and they are guilty.

Pukey2Oct. 20, 2014 - 10:58PM JST joebigs: Two politicians resign due to their own stupidity and it's because of the Chinese or communists. Oh yeah, also, last weekend's typhoon was because of the gays.

No, two female politicians resigned because they didn't want to be used as a distraction by the DPJ and the CPJ (that's Communist Party of Japan not China) while they sorted their issues out. BTW Communist China had nothing to do with this the DPJ and CPJ did.

Now, I don't know what issues you have with gay people, but they don't cause typhoons. Most of the gay people that I know have never caused a single typhoon, but if you'd like I'll ask my nephew and see what he thinks of you comment. I am pretty sure he will say that you may need to get help.

Pukey2Oct. 20, 2014 - 10:58PM JST Had these women been DPJ, you can bet your life the LDP would have done the same. I'm sure LDP and Republicans have a lot in common - hypocrites.

But, these women weren't members of the DPJ or Republican Party (don't have a clue why you would bring the RNC into this discussion) these women were members of the LDP and were treated badly by the DPJ and CPJ (that's Communist Party of Japan).

The truth is always the hardest pill to swallow.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Abe must be pissed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Smithinjapan

The reports I have read, including the newest one here on JT today call it a 'possible breach of rules'. My point is, that at this stage it seems unclear - to the media, the lawmakers and the woman herself as to whether in fact she has actually breached the rules or not. So why not wait for an investigation before screaming for her resignation, or people calling her a criminal. Aren't we meant to be Innocent until proven to be guilty?

Looks like trial by media to me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The resignations were indeed a blessing for Japan.

I appears that here in Japan, our host country, the political parties and certain key individuals in each party hold power and tend to control the entire governing process. The Prime Minister is often a figure head. It is indeed governance by consensus and that does not create leadership nor allow for meaningful change in any government. Today, in order to survive, meaningful change is often needed. This occurrence may slowly allow for change to occur.

This was in a way a small and limited "house cleaning" of the political system and structure here. Male or female aside, like it or not, personalities with "power" get into offices. Some of those powerful personalities may not be best suited for the country. Obviously, this house cleaning helped the politicians as well as the public become more aware of the need to be "real" and not put on a show (popularity) or "inherit" power by "pretense" and political maneuvering. If there are "petty" things that one get's caught with, there may be much bigger and dangerous things that may be lurking behind. Hopefully they do not return into public service.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't worry Abe! There's plenty of people who can do that job. They are all quitting because they are involved with illegal pay and gifts and know they will get caught under your tenure. We all support your great efforts Abe! Don't let those who want to be parasites to Japan, stop you from helping Japan to be great again!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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