Another look at the lighter side of Japanese politics (abstracted translation):
Hotels Bustling as LDP Holds Flurry of Fundraisers
Dec 12, 2005
In Nagata-cho (Japan’s version of Capitol Hill), where schedules are filled up with next year’s budget preparations and tax revisions, there has been a flurry of fundraisers for LDP Diet members. It looks as though the parties, usually planned for autumn, had to be pushed back to the end of the year due to the September Lower House election. Members, concerned about their wallets, are trying to raise election funds by year’s end, resulting in a daily boom for area hotels.
“Hidenao Nakagawa, currently at the height of his popularity, has developed into a political strongman”
The 1,200 in attendance went wild when VIP Yoshiro Mori (former Prime Minister), said the above words at the fundraiser of LDP Policy Planning Council Chairman Nakagawa, held at a Tokyo hotel on the evening of Dec. 8. In addition to senior party leaders and top businessmen, 500 guests were invited from Nakagawa’s home prefecture of Hiroshima.
The sheer number of LDP members’ parties can be understood by taking a look at the schedule of LDP Secretary-General Tsutomu Takebe, who has received requests to make speeches. In the SG’s schedule for the coming two weeks are planned attendance at 19 individually-held events and 2 for party factions. Takebe is set to party-hop every day, going so far as to attend 5 events on at least one day.
The opposition Democratic Party of Japan, meanwhile, is partying just as hard, with Secretary-General Yukio Hatoyama’s fundraiser planned for Dec. 9.
On most years, Diet members’ parties are held in the fall to avoid conflicting with budget preparations. LDP General Council Chair Fumio Kyuma said wryly of this year’s party situation, “They were put off because of the election, I guess. The elections ended, and since they cost money, [the members] must be raising funds.”
According to the 2004 Political Funds Balance Report, total contributions totaled Y26.4 billion, down 9.9% from 2003, while revenue garnered from fundraising parties increased 9.9% to Y14.3 billion. One member commented, “Contributions are down, so there is no choice but to rely on fundraising parties, and the ratio of intake from parties to total revenue is trending upward. (Eriko Horii reporting)
Takebe Scolds Koizumi Children for bad Party Etiquette
Dec 12, 2005
LDP Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe, the self-appointed “headmaster” of the “Koizumi Children” (new LDP Diet members elected this September) scolded his students for “bad etiquette” at a recent party.
The outburst took place on the evening of Nov 30 at a party held by the party leader for close associates in Tokyo. According to one person in attendance, Takebe screamed, “Looking just now, the new members are just eating and not making the rounds!” causing the attendees to hurriedly begin distributing meishi (business cards, the ritualized distribution of which is a custom in Japan).
Meanwhile, at a party for veteran Diet members, Low Birthrate Minister Kuniko Inoguchi, who is also a new Diet member, gave an overlong speech, forcing former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who hurried to the event, to go home without giving any speech.