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Tamaki: Bureaucrats need to have pride again

  • April 6, 2018
  • , Mainichi , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

The following is an interview with Party of Hope President Yuichiro Tamaki:


Question: What do you think of the Finance Ministry’s falsification of finalized official documents concerning the Moritomo Gakuen school?


Tamaki: Falsifying nearly 300 portions of official documents would do nothing good to a government office. What did they try to hide even at the risk of committing a crime? That is the essence of this problem. If they tried to handle the Moritomo land sale as a special case because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife Akie was involved, such an act would undermine the modern democracy of exercising administrative authorities under laws and rules. The Moritomo scandal is a serious problem, which has made us doubt whether Japan’s democratic governance really functions.


Q: As a former Finance Ministry bureaucrat, what is your analysis of the circumstances of the Moritomo scandal?


Tamaki: I don’t think officials there did such a thing on their own. Everything began when Prime Minister Abe said in his Diet reply on February 17 last year, “I will resign as prime minister and as Diet member if I or my wife was involved (in the sale of state-owned land).” The Financial Bureau director-general made replies in line with that, and they falsified official documents for coherence with the Financial Bureau chief’s replies. They also considered the powers that be, and this might have led to the substantial falsification of official documents.


The establishment of the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs put bureaucrats under pressure to obey the administration. However, bureaucrats should stand up resolutely against politicians, and they should rectify their wrong directions even at the cost of their jobs, which, I believe, is the pride of bureaucrats. I want officials of the Finance Ministry to regain such pride.


Q: The issue of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s daily logs during its deployment to Iraq was also disclosed recently.


Tamaki: They try to hide everything in the first place. It may not be appropriate to say things like this, but I would say they are all like “pet owners.” The Abe administration tries to “cover up anything inconvenient.” This has spread among all government ministries at Kasumigaseki. That is the largest problem.


Q: Do you think the opposition parties have done well to pursue the problem in the Diet for an investigation of the truth?


Tamaki: To tell the truth, I think the oppositions parties are now divided, and I’m wondering if we are able to fulfill the functions of watching the government. However, this is a problem that made light of the legislative branch of government. This means the ruling parties are also responsible for getting to the bottom of the problem. Both the ruling and opposition parties should cooperate in exercising parliamentary investigation rights. We will continue seeking to summon Prime Minister Abe’s wife Akie, Saeko Tani, a government employee who served Akie, and former Financial Bureau Director-General Hidenori Sakota. If that does not work, we will launch a special investigative committee in the Diet, as the Diet did during the investigation of the Lockheed Scandal, and summon those involved.


Q: The ruling parties are discussing measures to prevent a similar incident from recurring.


Tamaki: Our party has already drawn up a bill to prevent the falsification of official documents. The ruling parties are now going to form a team to deal with the problem. I feel this shows their sense of crisis is low.


The Diet must get to the bottom of this problem and take preventive measures. Although the ruling parties seem to be eager for the scandal to end, the people are still dissatisfied.  

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