Posted by debito on October 3rd, 2008
Hi Debito: Say, I’d like to ask a question — what becomes of ‘radioactive’ (i.e. scandal-ridden) ministers in Japan?
For example, take former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Seiichi Ota and his partner in crime former Administrative Vice Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshiro Shirasu — in a country like Japan, knowingly using tainted rice for consumer products is, in my view, tantamount to deficating in an onsen, and since the tainted rice drama occurred on their watch, these two guys have, ironically enough, been tainted themselves by the whole affair. Unless I am grossly mistaken, they can never hope to hold government office again. In this case where do they go? Do they quit government and open a ramen or udon shop? Since they’re radioactive, I am willing to wager that they can’t (or won’t) find meaningful employment, so do they take menial jobs instead? Do they leave the country when nobody’s looking? Do they retire for life? If so, where? Tokyo? Do they have enough yen to live there, or do they go to the countryside?
In the case of former Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Nariaki Nakayama, his crime was putting his foot in his mouth too many times, so I don’t see suicide in his future — in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day he makes a return to government. But still, where do the likes of him go?
At any rate, to my knowledge, unless ministers commit suicide, the media never follows-up on them once they resign.
Hey, I’ve got an idea — track these guys via a dead pool on debito.org! It’s morbid, but it would sure as hell boost hits to the website! Best Regards, -JK
It’s a good question, and I only answered JK a smidge:
Hi JK. My theory is they just keep a low profile (but stay in govt). All you have to do to qualify for a former politician’s pension in this country is be re-elected twice (i.e. serve three terms). Then you’re set for life with a little something. But you have to wait until 65 before you can collect. No problem with most in this gerontocracy. Anyway, for the most part, they lead quiet and ignored lives, but retain political power. But let’s pose that to the blog.
I’m thinking people like Fukuoka Dietmember Yamasaki Taku, tainted with sexual harassment charges yet reelected two years later. Or Hokkaido Dietmember Suzuki Muneo, twice convicted of taking bribes yet still re-elected to the Diet. Or “Knock” Yokoyama, former dietmember and Governor of Osaka, convicted with a suspended sentence of groping a woman and forced to resign his office (never to return to politics). Etc.