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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Scandals Rock Prime Minister's World

As a fairly normal guy, in my more happy horny days of my youth, I have spent an evening in a strip club and promptly thrown away hundreds of dollars on booze and strippers - I believe my high was $1400 where I'm pretty sure I bought someone thigh-high red boots.

I'm not bragging about that. It is what it is and I had a good time while the good times lasted. Do I wish I had the money now? You betcha. It sure seems like a stupid waste of time - but oh! the stories I could tell!

Still, I am sure there are better ways I could spend that money if I still had it nowadays… but I doubt I would still have it. I spend what I have to enjoy life.

Money - unless it is spent, is just some colored pieces of paper in one's wallet or purse. I use a wallet.

Anyhow… here's the thing… when I spent my money out at the aforementioned clubs several times a week (how out of control was I after my mother died and I left the love of my life behind in another country?), it was my money spent for entertainment purposes. I see it now as the price of growing up.

I ate the cost.

Can you imagine if you or I had dared to ask for a receipt from such an establishment so that I could invoice it back at work for tax purposes or to get money back from petty cash as the cost of doing business?

Well… as silly as it might sound to some of you, despite it being 2014 many a legitimate business deal has been brokered between executives while a naked woman gyrated inches from their noses.

That kind of thing is certainly frowned upon in my current industry, but I have a friend involved in the finance world - and invoicing such dark and skanky retreats is common practice.

But that's finance. It has it's own moral values.

Money makes the world go round. Money is the root of evil. Therefore the world is evil.

I've vocally quoted that for decades.

Politics has its own moral values, as well… and despite me living in Toronto where the most recent former mayor liked to smoke crack cocaine, spew racist dialogue and utter inappropriate sexist comments as easily as breathing… the political clime does have a moral code.

With great power comes great responsibility - or so Peter Parker, the spectacular Spider-Man was told via that great communicator Stan "The Man" Lee… but when it comes to politics, if you're going to do something shady or naughty, regardless of great responsibility—don't get caught.

Which leads us to the hapless-looking fellow pictured above.

That is Miyazawa Yoichi (surname first), Japan's federal minister of industry - a very important position.

Apparently members of his staff had gone out partying at a Japanese sex bar.

Okay, fine… whatever. They even paid their bill.

That's not the issue… though being a sex bar, it is highly probable that there was 'issue'.

No… it seems that the happy, horny government workers—NOT Miyazawa - he wasn't there—they paid the bill using monies from the office.

No… they did not use the government credit card.

No… they did not raid the government's small change drawer.

No… they paid for it themselves with their own money.

So what is the problem? Where's the government scandal?

Uh… they tried to invoice it back to the government claiming usage of a sex bar as though their visit was government business.

Someone's getting screwed by this government business… but despite the embarrassment, this is hardly the type of act to take down a politico or a government.

How much was the bill at the sex bar? It was a measly 18,230 ($170).

wow (yes, lower-case). That's it? I can tell you that there probably wasn't any sex involved - unless it was a really cheap and disgusting place... in which case.. eww. Have some class. Have some dignity. Have some penicillin.

The report notes that the invoice wasn't from one person - it was from multiple people, and that the 18,320 was them combined cost for all of them.

It might have just been the entrance fee or the cost of the necessary drinks as entrance fee.

Of course… whose to say that they didn't purchase any sexual favors with their own money? No one is giving you a receipt for that! Okay… maybe Holland or Reno where it's legal. But if they did, they didn't try and invoice that to the government.

The whole embarrassing thing is that they went into a sex bar.

Is that so embarrassing?

Well… yeah… the place could be owned by a Yakuza clan… do you want the Yakuza working with members of the government?  

Anyhow… Miyazawa, as you can see from the photo above - he ain't happy. But, he should be okay, job-wise… even though his predecessor Obuchi Yuko (surname first) stepped down over claims she misspent political funds.

So… Miyazawa… he only JUST arrived on the job as of Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Welcome! Here's your scandal. Please move to the back of the line.

And further… the whole visit to a sex bar thing occurred back in September of 2010.

But for Japan prime minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) this is the THIRD political scandal to hit him - even though HE only came to power in December of 2012.

Like Miyazawa, Abe has inherited a scandal through no fault of their own…. though he did put Obuchi into the position of Trade minister.

Yes, one scandal was Obuchi's alleged misspending, the other is the sex bar stuff that happened four years ago - but all things that have only come to light this week.

The third scandalous event involves Japan's justice minister Matsushima Midori - another woman (what is it about women and politics? Ha! Plenty!) who resigned her position after opponents allege she tried to buy votes - IE misspent money.

Here's the thing regarding Abe… it's the first major problem for him since he came to power nearly two years ago. His two years in power is actually quite impressive for Japan, consider that before him Prime Ministers entered and exited office as easily as government workers in a sex bar. I'm here - I'm gone.

But the real shame, of course, is that he has lost two high profile FEMALE ministers - a serious blow to his promise to raise the profile of women working in Japan.

There's your role models, women…

The Obuchi resignation as Trade minister is particularly galling to Abe, as that area of government has been in charge of Japan's energy sector… yes… that part of the government that is looking after public safety at nuclear power plants - with currently all 48 of the existing ones still shut down following the near multiple nuclear meltdowns at the Dai-Ichi facility in Fukushima-ken.

Recently, Japan's federal government has been pushing to restart the nuclear plants that have passed the muster and are considered safe and following all the rules and regulations - at least that's the news as reported to Abe by the minister of Trade.

How do you trust the government to do the right thing when they have been forced to resign over misappropriation of monies and wrongly invoicing (and we assume getting monies back) for time spent at a Japanese sex club?

You can't.

That's the scandalous part of this whole bad couple of weeks for Abe and the government of Japan.

Dim your lights. The party appears to be over.

Andrew Joseph
PS: Image above is Industry minister Miyazawa Yoichi - Photograph: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images
PPS: Want some cool female role models? Check out this article at Ozy: HERE.

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