Jiro Kimura Office Fired A Female Secretary Working at a Brothel — Find out the “Cruel Tale of Private Secretaries”
As reported by this magazine on September 2, the office of Jiro Kimura, 54, a parliamentary secretary for defense, has fired a female secretary who was found to have been working at brothel in Tokyo.
The secretary is not a taxpayer-funded public secretary, but a private secretary, so she cannot legally be blamed for working on the side. However, for some reason, she had suddenly resigned. Although we do not know the details because there has been no clear response from Kimura’s office, “private secretaries” are now a quiet topic of conversation in Nagata-cho.
In fact, there is no clear definition of a private secretary, and the reality of private secretaries varies widely from office to office. A female private secretary in her fifties who works at the office of a member of the House of Representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said in a whisper, “Private secretaries are not simply paid for their services.”
“The salary of a private secretary simply depends on the financial strength of the legislator. However, a female private secretary at a Diet member’s office is usually paid 200,000 to 250,000 yen per month in face value. There are employee pension and health insurance benefits, but since that figure is at face value, the take-home pay is a sad amount (laughs). In the absence of family support or husbands, some work on weekends, registering as hostesses or day laborers. The office of a new teacher has little financial resources, so I suspect that hers at Jiro Kimura’s office was just enough to live modestly.”
A LDP lawmaker’s office might have seven or eight secretaries, both in Nagatacho and in the local area. Of these, three are public secretaries: “policy,” “first,” and “second. The salary of the second public secretary is approximately 6 million yen. Private secretaries are paid less than half that amount.
Since the LDP fell to the opposition in 2009, the treatment of private secretaries has declined, probably due to a decrease in party subsidies. Even after the LDP returned to the ruling party, the salaries of private secretaries remained the same. In addition to serving tea and manning the phones, I am also used to coordinating teachers’ schedules, preparing documents on PowerPoint, driving cars, and other nice things for a thin salary. In the offices of conservative professors, I have the impression that there are fewer cases of women being promoted to public positions compared to men, and when they are promoted, they are ridiculed behind their backs, asking if they have a special relationship. I wonder every day what the difference is.
In many cases, the offices of frequently elected representatives send their children as private secretaries to the offices of their sponsoring organizations or sponsoring companies to train them up. Although they are not paid a salary by the office, they serve as a foil to the office’s record by stating that they work for the office.
Just as young people who aspire to become comedians or rakugo storytellers hone their craft by working as “bagmen” for their masters, there are also cases of young aspiring politicians working as private secretaries for “just for food.”
In addition, veteran secretaries in Nagata-cho are known as “Edo yaro,” and powerful local secretaries are known as “kokkouro,” or “national elder.” Because of their knowledge of the money and connections behind the scenes, there are rare cases in which they cannot remain as public secretaries paid for by taxes, and instead become private secretaries.
On the other hand, for offices of newly elected Diet members, both the ruling and opposition parties are reported to pay 150,000-200,000 yen per month with no benefits. There are also private secretaries who cannot afford the monthly National Pension Insurance premium of 16,590 yen. The treatment of private secretaries varies widely.
The aforementioned private secretary commented, “The most stressful thing about being a private secretary is that I have an unstable position.”
‘Whether private or public, if a Diet member loses the election, he or she immediately loses his or her job. Former Prime Minister Abe’s public secretary moved to the office of Akiko Ikuina, but if something happens to a Diet member, his life changes drastically. My dream is to be ‘the public secretary of a strong electioneering teacher who is a member of the House of Councilors.’
Political secretaries are often referred to as “blacks” or “dirty.” Private secretaries, in particular, are poorly paid and their employment is uncertain. Since Diet members have the right to legislate, it would be a good idea to define what constitutes a private secretary.
Interview and text by： Daisuke Iwasaki