Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Japan lawmakers getting poorer?

February 9, 2010

Japan’s prime minister may also be the country’s richest politician, but parliament is no longer the preserve of the wealthy, according to an analysis published by broadcaster NHK.

Lawmakers from the country’s lower house of parliament declared an average of 31.5 million yen (around $350,000) in assets, down more than 18 million yen on a previous declaration four years earlier.


That’s partly because of the large  number of new lawmakers who made it to parliament in the Democratic Party of Japan’s historic election victory last year.  Seventy lawmakers, most of them newcomers, said they had no assets whatsoever, almost double the number in the previous announcement.

At the other end of the scale, the assets of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, a grandson of the founder of Bridgestone Tyres, weighed in at 1.6 billion yen, media said. 

Ruling party No. 2, Ichiro Ozawa, whose aides have been charged in a funding scandal, declared  about 190 million yen in assets, NHK said.

The Kyodo news agency said Ozawa declared no bank savings, but it noted that there was no obligation to declare cash kept at home. During the investigation into suspected misreporting of political funds, Ozawa was said to have told prosecutors he kept 300 million yen in cash where he lives.

Photo credit: Kim Kyung Hoon/REUTERS

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