“Famous people among career-track bureaucrats at Kasumigaseki”
[Shukan Gendai, 5/2/2015 issue, pp. 54-57]
o Chizuru Suga, a female career-track bureaucrat, currently in the post of assistant director, Media & Content Industry Division, Commerce & Information Policy Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry, joined METI in 2003. She’s married to Nobuo Kawakami, chairman of Dwango Co., Ltd., a telecommunications and media company distributing contents for online use and running “Niconico Doga.” She’s currently responsible for METI’s “Cool Japan Strategy” office promoting Japan’s anime and manga overseas.
o Mika Takagi, also a female career-track bureaucrat, currently in the post of assistant director, Service Affairs Policy Division, Commerce & Information Policy Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry, joined METI in 2002. She is the person who launched the METI office of “Cool Japan Strategy.” She holds an MBA from Stanford University and has an excellent command of English. She’s also a “slender beauty” (in the words of a METI mid-level bureaucrat).
o Shun Sakurai, currently in the Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications’ No. 2 post of “Shingikan” (vice minister for policy coordination), joined the now-defunct Ministry of Posts & Telecommunication in 1977. He’s a figure well known, both in and outside Kasumigaseki, as “the father of Sho Sakurai, a member of Johnny’s idol group ‘Arashi‘. He’s nicknamed ‘Sakurai Papa’. “They say he’s MIC’s ace and likely to become administrative vice minister this summer,” according to a MIC Press Club reporter.
o Buichiro Kuroda, another well-known MIC bureaucrat, currently in the post of Cabinet Secretariat Councillor, joined the now-defunct Ministry of Home Affairs in 1982. He’s dubbed “Somusho no Kinnikuman (literally “MIC’s Muscle Man”). A MIC Press Club reporter says: “He’s a potential future candidate for administrative vice minister. He has a fourth dan in kendo and a fifth dan in aikido as a ‘butoha kanryo‘ (militant or fighter bureaucrat) master with a total of nine dan.” He’s also writes serious literature.
o Takehito Matsumura, a Councillor attached to the Minister’s Secretariat of the Ministry of Finance, is also a well-known novelist, whose pen name is “Sho Ashizaki.” His work, “Sukoru no Yoru” (A Squall Night), released in 2013, won the Nikkei Novel Prize.
o Ryuhei Maeda, once in the post of Civil Aviation Bureau director general at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport & Tourism, currently in the post of Ambassador to Liechtenstein, is also a novelist, the author of “Chiheisenni” (Over the Horizon), which he says “didn’t sell very well.”
o Yasuhito Omori, an expert on financial administration and writing a column for a financial affairs magazine, joined the Ministry of Finance in 1981. He’s currently in the post of Secretary-General at the Securities & Exchange Surveillance Commission.
o Kazuaki Tanaka, well known as a “ramen kanryo” (ramen-loving bureaucrat), joined a central government office in 1997. Unfortunately, his government affiliation cannot be revealed. He makes it a point to eat 700 bowls a year.
o Kenji Suwazono, currently in the post of director for the Insurance Business Division of the Financial Services Agency, joined the Ministry of Finance in 1988. Suwazono is a real genius. One of his friends at the University of Tokyo (Todai), Osamu Hayashi, who graduated from its law faculty and is now a popular instructor for prep schools and a TV personality, thought to himself when he was a Todai student that he’s “no match at least for this guy,” who was Suwazono.
o Masato Higuchi, who served as Fukuoka Prefectural Police chief until January, is a career-track bureaucrat of the National Police Agency who is respected by police officials and feared by antisocial forces. He joined the NPA in 1982. He is known as “the man who destroyed Kudokai,” a gangland organization that was headquartered in Kitakyushu. This January, he was “promoted” to the post of Osaka Prefectural Police chief.
o Shigeo Matsutomi, a diplomat currently in the post of Ambassador to Israel, joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978. He’s so popular with women that he became famous in a sense apart from his job performance. He had an affair with Kaori Arimura, a TV newscaster, and divorced his wife and married her. Even now, it’s still the talk of the town. “He’s been famous as ‘MOFA’s No. 1 playboy’ ever since he was a young man,” says a MOFA source.