Sunday, July 08, 2007

Will the Successor to the Deceased MAFF Minister Matsuoka Be the Next to Fall?

The mainstream media as well as the tabloids have pounced on the latest misfortunes of the Abe administration in the personage of Norihiko Akagi, grandson of former MAFF minister and replacement for Toshikatsu Matsuoka, who committed suicide over political financing and other scandals. Mr. Akagi's koenkai (supporters' group), in filing the necessary report with the authorities, had been using his parent's home as his main office and expensed a substantial amount of money there. According to news reports, his own mother stated that they "had not been receiving payments for rent or utilities. (Her son's) private secretary and office personnel would come when an election campaign starts, but they are not here regularly." With a mother like this, could things be any worse for Mr. Akagi? Well his koenkai representative said "it has not used as an office since Mr. Akagi took over."

The opposition is raising the predictable cries for Mr. Akagi’s head. Upper House LDP members and the New Komeito are making their displeasure known as well. Prime Minister Abe is also acting predictably, as, according to an AP report, he "defended Akagi and brushed off the resignation demands. 'That's not the problem,' Abe said, when reporters asked for his response to the opposition calls for Akagi's resignation. 'He has already offered a clear explanation.'" But this was before the media began giving this its full attention. Mr. Abe's penchant for explaining first and thinking later (and tacking with the winds), as well as to defend his ministers then let nature take its course (Genichiro Sada resigns; Hakuo Yanagisawa stays on; Mr. Matsuoka kills himself; Fumio Kyuma resigns) seems to be again in full display.

This is a cabinet that the media can only love.

The AP report was written before the afternoon tabloids and the mainstream evening editions came out.

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