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News PM Kishida facing accusations of nepotism


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Last Tuesday, PM Kishida appointed his son Shotaro as an executive secretary to the prime minister (himself), triggering a backlash that might further shake his stricken administration. Although it is common in Japan to appoint relatives to key positions to create and perpetuate political dynasties, Kishida's decision to nominate his son, who had briefly worked at Mitsui trading house and became his private secretary in 2020, has been criticised as nepotism.

Perhaps a sign that "the olden ways" are no longer accepted. It's still puzzling to see how out of touch with reality and the electorate's sensitivities Japan's silver-spoon-fed politicians seem.

The premier answered the question by saying the appointment was "comprehensively" determined based on the idea of "putting the right person in the right place," prompting heckling in the House of Representatives chamber.

A close aide to Kishida also said the appointment was "appropriate" in consideration of his son's "character and ability," adding that it is "discriminatory to criticize him just because he is the eldest son."

An LDP lawmaker said Kishida "loves his son too much." Another lawmaker of Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, said the prime minister "has not heard the voices of the public."

The media play their part in providing an environment where this is considered normal - I remember all the positive press when the next-generation Koizumi was first elected, which seemed to stem from the fact that he was Junichiro's son.
Only Koizumi Jr. turned out to be quite a ninny. Though that won't hamper his career, I am sure he'll be a minister in some future LDP cabinet. :LOL:

I have the impression the media have become more sensitive to political misconduct since the UC scandal broke.
It could be that they resented being bullid
Only Koizumi Jr. turned out to be quite a ninny. Though that won't hamper his career, I am sure he'll be a minister in some future LDP cabinet. :LOL:

I have the impression the media have become more sensitive to political misconduct since the UC scandal broke.
It could be that they resented the bullying they experienced by Abe's administration and there's an element of taking their revenge on the current relatively weak administration.
Michael MacArthur Bosack from the Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies answers why Kishida would make this move, especially when his public opinion is already tanking and looks at the role political dynasties play in Japanese politics.

First, dynastic politics is a central feature of the Japanese political world. More than 25% of all sitting parliamentarians are legacy politicians, compared to the 5 to 8% range for democracies like Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. Moreover, these political dynasties do not just stretch back one generation but can reach all the way back to the 1800s in the pre-war parliament and, in rare instances, even further to the days of the feudal clans. [...] The second point is that because dynastic succession is so entrenched in Japanese politics, there is a formula for how the succession tends to happen. For politicians' families, the goal is to have at least one child (usually the eldest son) tagged as the successor. Those children study at one of Japan's top schools (Keio, Waseda or Tokyo) and then get a job in industry, journalism or media to build connections. Once the successors hit their late 20s, they quit their day jobs and go work as secretaries for their parents or other sitting parliamentarians who are close confidants. They bounce around in various legislative, private or executive secretary positions until their parents retire or pass away, at which point they inherit the vacant seats.

Bosack then looks at the careers of Kishida Shotaro, Fukuda Tatsuo, Obuchi Yuko, Koizumi Shinjiro, and Abe Shinzo, which all follow the same pattern: born into a political dynasty, prestigious university, prestigious company, then dad's private secretary.

Whatever the reason [for appointing his son], Kishida has yet another political issue to face down during this session of parliament. The big question now is how much it might accelerate his declining public approval. If things continue the way they have been, Kishida may have just made his son a crew mate on a sinking ship.


Breaking news: PM Kishida's son, Shotaro, will step down as executive secretary to his father on Thursday amid criticism over inappropriate photographs taken at the premier's official residence last year. Previously, he'd been reprimanded for using an official car for sightseeing and souvenir shopping during an official trip to Europe.


Despite Shotaro's "resignation" and refusal to accept his severance pay and bonus, the opposition parties have a field day lambasting the PM over his son's alleged misconduct. And there is also the question of who leaked the private photos to the media. PM Kishida defended the leaked private photograph, telling reporters on Friday that he didn't believe he did something inappropriate in the public area of the residence.

he fresh revelation of the snapshot comes after Kishida's eldest son, Shotaro, was fired from his role as executive secretary to the prime minister amid growing criticism over inappropriate photos, apparently taken on the same occasion. The prime minister posed for the photograph with 17 family members and relatives, including Shotato and his wife Yuko, and it was unveiled in the latest edition of a weekly magazine called Friday. At a news conference on Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, the top government spokesman, did not directly answer a question about whether a series of leaked private images of the internal layout of the facility to the media could create national security issues.

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