More Makiko Fujino Hijinks

This is from a little while ago, but whatever:

LDP’s Makiko Fujino under fire after skipping Diet session for talk show

Newly elected Diet member Makiko Fujino has come under fire for skipping a plenary session of the House of Representatives to attend two talk shows in Fukuoka.

Fujino, a food researcher, explained her absence from Thursday’s session by saying she had made a promise to appear in the shows, but some residents remain critical of her actions.

Fujino traveled to Fukuoka on Wednesday evening and on Tuesday afternoon she gave a food-related charity lecture and appeared in a cooking talk show titled “Beautiful Italy,” before returning to Tokyo.

Her appearances resulted in her missing a plenary session of the Lower House, in which the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) presented an explanation of its counterproposal on postal privatization and various parties presented questions over a period of about two hours and 20 minutes.

The 56-year-old Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) member’s secretary defended her actions, saying she had decided to keep a promise.

“One of the shows was a charity effort to build houses in Sri Lanka, which was hit by the tsunami, and she had promised to attend before being elected. She was unable to change the date and fretted over her decision, but in the end she gave preference to keeping her promise,” the secretary said. “She will receive an explanation of the session from another Diet member and bureaucrats once she returns to Tokyo.”

But residents in Fukuoka questioned her actions.

“It’s irresponsible for her not to appear in the Diet when she’s a Diet member,” said one 57-year-old housewife from Fukuoka’s Minami-ku. “Isn’t she taking things a bit too lightly?”

“With the stable majority (of the LDP) didn’t she think it was worth it to hear the explanation from the DPJ?” asked another 45-year-old housewife from Chuo-ku in Fukuoka. “Since she’s receiving a Diet member’s allowance, she should attend.”

However, a 24-year-old man who heard Fujino’s lecture said he understood her stance.

“She’s saying she’s going to give preference to the Diet from now on, so I think this time it’s all right,” he said.

Fujino had stood as one of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s “assassin” candidates in the House of Representatives election, advocating privatization of Japan’s postal services. She was defeated in the No. 4 Aichi constituency, but elected under the LDP’s Tokai proportional representation bloc. When she entered the Diet, she said she would “study five times harder” than others. (Mainichi)

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