politics

Watanabe says he spent some of Y800 mil on lucky charm

27 Comments

Yoshimi Watanabe, the head of the minor opposition Your Party, on Friday insisted an undeclared 800 million yen loan had been spent on personal items, including a lucky bamboo rake.

Watanabe has admitted receiving the funds from the chairman of leading cosmetic company DHC Corp, but denies it had anything to do with his political work.

"I borrowed the money purely personally," Watanabe told reporters. "I decided how to use it, and obviously I do not believe it was illegal."

Japanese law requires that all political donations be made public.

Watanabe said he no longer has the money after spending it on "miscellaneous items" including a decorative "kumade" -- a bamboo rake believed to confer luck on its holder.

The claim drew sneers from media and political colleagues.

"I never knew there was such an expensive 'kumade' in this world," said Akira Amari, state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy.

"Mr Watanabe always says politicians need to be accountable. I am sure he will offer a persuasive explanation."

But Watanabe's luck appeared Friday to be running a little low, with his benefactor, Yoshiaki Yoshida, chairman of DHC, telling Jiji Press he was not being truthful.

"What he has said was untrue," Yoshida told the agency. "I still have a mobile phone message from him saying he needed money for his electoral campaign."

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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“What he has said was untrue,” Yoshida told the agency. “I still have a mobile phone message from him saying he needed money for his electoral campaign.”

As I have always said; "How can you tell when a Japanese politician is lying? Simple, his lips are moving". Why do they all think that they will be the one to not get caught and insult the public's intelligence with such lame explanations? A rake? That is a new low. He might have been better off saying he blew it on women and booze.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

He's gonna need that "lucky charm" now to get him out of the pit he's dug for himself.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The system here is just so corrupted and rotten to the core - as can be expected from a system where ever since the end of WW2 one party , LDP has had a virtual monopoly on power ( with a couple of brief exceptions ) and created a cozy , inbred relationship with big business. I bet if media really wanted to dig deep they would he hard pressed to find any long serving politician in Japan who did not get a questionable donations or " expression of support / appreciation " somewhere along the way. Watanabe must have fallen foul with the DHC boss or some other powerful vested interests behind the scenes for this issue to have suddenly come out now. Either way his luck seems to have run out.

Funny how often the reality of Japanese political and business elite " values" here contrasts with the image of " honesty, honor and purity " Japan so loves to project of itself and many foreigners believe in when they first step off the plane.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Wow, this guy's pants must really be burning!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If he gets out of this, I would suggest that everyone buy their next kumade at the same place he does.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

'Watanabe said he no longer has the money after spending it on “miscellaneous items” including a decorative “kumade”—a bamboo rake believed to confer luck on its holder.'

¥800m? My definition of 'miscellaneous items' usually means a trip to the ¥100 shop or Tokyu Hands. I'd love to see these receipts.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's obvious that the money was to used to bribes to other businesses, fake citizen groups, other politicians, etc.

Ironic that this is came to light just when the whole population is about take up wazoo with the Abe tax. My god! this country is so screwed if they can't put these criminals behind bars to send a message.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Brutal... And this is the example he is setting for everyone else. There should be extra consequences for obvious BS

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You'd think he'd spent the money on a huge backhoe instead of an ornamental rake, considering the depth of the hole he's digging himself into with it.

More proof that good-luck charms don't work.

Spending tons of other folks' money on something expensive and useless. It's what politicians do. Usually roads, bridges and empty buildings, though.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

800 mil is really unbelievable for private use! I just wonder how much money he uses per month.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Can I please borrow 800 MILLION yen? I have to put food on the table, gas in my car, and pay the electricty bill? Oh... No? But my pay is going to stay the same and you are going to increase my cost of living across the board... Ok got it! I wont make 800 million yen in my life time if I stay in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I also go to Torinoichi every year and buy a Kumade. I saw the picture of him holding the one he bought and I told my wife it would cost 1 million yen max. Turns out he only spent 800,000 yen on it. That's 0.1% of the 800 million he borrowed. How did he spend the other 99.9%?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Funny how often the reality of Japanese political and business elite " values" here contrasts with the image of " honesty, honor and purity " Japan so loves to project of itself and many foreigners believe in when they first step off the plane.

marcelito -- absolutely. As you say, the system is rotten to the core, because these are nothing but career politicians who's sole aim is to stay in office, they have no concept of actually being a "public servant or a true legislator.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So if you need a mere 800 million yen, just sending a message with your keitai will get you the money? They must have had quite a cozy and trustful relationship. When I first heard of "Your Party", I thought this fellow can't be kosher. These politicians always make it appear doing something for kokumin no minasan, but they are just shrewd businessmen, lining their pockets with somebody else's money, preferably Your Money. Your Party my a$$, should read My Party. Alarm bells should have been ringing, but I am pretty sure he got applauded by his fellow politicians for coming up with such a clever name. And these other politicians jumping on his back now are likely not much better, I guess the trick is being smart not to get caught.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So, he is telling us he squandered $8 million bucks and the only thing he has accounted for is a bamboo rake? I love it!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Whew, at least he didn't blow it all on tooth rotting Lucky Charms cereal.

Restitution should include forming a comedy trio with Horiemon and Karpeles. They would all dress in stained T-shirts and spend their days in pawn shops and flea markets digging through old wallets in search of missing bitcoin. The punchline would be when a cheap plastic charm falls out instead, and none of them can afford the million yen to buy it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why is it that Japanese politicians thing everyone is a moron and that they can get away with murder? Oh yeah, because THEY are morons and yet they DO get away with murder! Let's hope this is an exception, the man is fired (and not to some amakudari job or re-election, please!), and forced to pay back all the money from his own pocket.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If the money was a political donation then it shows a serious lack of judgment and he's unelectable.

If the money was a personal loan and he spent it on 'miscellaneous items' including a 'lucky rake' - then it shows a serious lack of judgment and he's unelectable.

Either way his career should be over.

'What a knob eh'

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Can I get some of that action? I just want to go back to school and take engineering. Shouldn't cost more than Y10 million yen total covering tuition, books, food, rent over a period of 5 years. This guy blows it on a rake!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

oops I meant 'now' sorry ;p

0 ( +1 / -1 )

seriously who spends 1 million yen on a lucky rake? you either have to be very superstitious or brainwashed or both. but we mere gaijin couldnt possible understand the complexities of the Japanese culture so whats the point trying to.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well if the lucky charm was a significant portion of 800 million yen, somebody sure is "raking it in"!

I sure hope they check out Chairman Yoshida as well. Is his massive political donation noted in his records properly?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

forzaducati's got it.

Your money for My Party

It's shocking the crap these guys expect us to believe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Sf2kMAR. 29, 2014 - 11:22PM JST Can I get some of that action? I just want to go back to school and take engineering. Shouldn't cost more than Y10 million yen total covering tuition, books, food, rent over a period of 5 years. This guy blows it on a rake!

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Create your own political party against LDP. There is no amakudari chance to you but someone will loan you. Just make a political party of yours.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And here we are trying to scrape up money to put food on the table clothes on our backs, education for our kids and pay taxes!!!! Shame on you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

know I know who inspired the character Midorima from Kuroko no Basket.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I see no issues with this. People take out loans all the time, and the reasons for taking out those loans are between them, their loan officer and their God. It's not for us to speculate on.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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