Kenta Izumi of Rikken talks about the behind-the-scenes of his “unusual questioning of the Speaker. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kenta Izumi of Rikken talks about the behind-the-scenes of his “unusual questioning of the Speaker.

Interview] "The Chairman is the one who is disrespectful," and his "resolve" to lead an opposition party with a single-digit approval rating.

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Rikken Representative Kenta Izumi, who has “changed his character” into a fighting politician. At a plenary session of the House of Representatives, his pursuit of the Unification Church scandal toward Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda caused a big stir. photo: aflo

I would love to have Seiichiro Murakami come to the Rikken Democratic Party and fight with us on the issue of the former Unification Church.”

In an interview with FRIDAY Digital, Kenta Izumi, the representative of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), said this at the outset of the interview. He was smiling. It seems that he has changed his character from the “staunch man” that he has been until now, and it seems to be true. Izumi continued with a smile.

Mr. Murakami’s words may have been inappropriate for the LDP, but it is natural for a politician to speak out on policy evaluations. It is only natural for a politician to speak out about policy evaluations, and it is not right that he or she should be unable to do so. I share many of Mr. Murakami’s opinions. The secretary general of our party, Katsuya Okada, is also Mr. Murakami’s brother-in-law, and I would like to ask him to join forces with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan to reveal the truth.

Seiichiro Murakami, former minister in charge of administrative reform, was suspended from his party position for one year by the LDP Party Rules Committee for “inappropriate expressions” in his answers to an interview about the former Unification Church issue. The suspension gave a strong impression of the LDP’s executive committee’s “Abe worship,” saying that the LDP would not tolerate any criticism of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Izumi said with a laugh, “I want to recruit Mr. Murakami,” but his eyes were not smiling. He is furious at the insincere handling of the former Unification Association by the Fumio Kishida administration, and says he intends to pursue the matter thoroughly during this extraordinary Diet session.

Former Prime Minister Abe was the key person connecting the LDP and the former Unification Association,” Murakami said. Mr. Murakami must have recognized this and made such a statement. We, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, see it the same way.

It is said that former Prime Minister Abe was giving out church votes to LDP candidates, and the seats he gained from this were used to form Abe’s long-term government. If so, it is possible that the former Unification Church had some influence on the administration and the deliberations in the Diet. Through its strong connections with politics, the church gained followers and siphoned off money in the form of donations. The money was used to finance the operation of the cult’s headquarters in Korea. And the families of the followers disintegrated in a tragic way. Politicians tied to the cult are largely to blame. We cannot afford to leave this issue in obscurity.”

Nippon, a Nation in Disarray

Even now that Abenomics has failed, the Kishida administration is unwilling to change its monetary policy. The reason is that it is unable to tighten the money supply that has flooded the market.

While the rest of the world is turning to raising interest rates, Japan is the only country that is unable to do so. If this trend continues, the cost of redeeming government bonds will balloon and Japan’s finances will be further endangered. Since the interest rate differential between Japan and the yen is a negative legacy of Abenomics, there is no way to halt this trend of yen depreciation, and as long as the Kishida administration remains in power, high prices will hit pensioners and salaried households whose wages are not rising. This is the misadventure of the LDP administrations that followed Abe, Kan, and Kishida.

In the recent Upper House election, the Rikken Democratic Party of Japan and Izumi’s executive team were defeated, with the party saying, “We don’t know what we want. The party’s presence in the Diet is so weak that the party has been cursed by some with the notion that it needs to “redo the representative election” in order to get back on its feet. (an executive of the Rikken local branch) in order for the party to regain its footing. The foundation of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was severely shaken, as the coalition, which is supposed to be the party’s main support group, has developed a good relationship with Taro Aso, vice president of the DPJ.

We have a lot to reflect on,” Izumi admits.

Izumi admits as much. And he added, “I have a lot of things to reflect on.

We must change into a fighting Constitutional Democratic Party. We started by making changes to the executive committee.

With his buttocks facing the floor, he packed the floor with the chairman.

The new executive committee is made up of veteran members, young members, and mid-career members. And they showed their “fighting form” at this extraordinary session of the Diet.

The question was: “Did you ever have the former Unification Church purchase party tickets for you? Did you have any other financial relationship with the former Unification Church? Mr. Chairman, can you answer that question?

Izumi stood up to ask a question, turned his buttocks to the floor, looked back at Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda, and asked a question in a strong tone of voice.

The Speaker froze in his tracks, and a fierce “Speaker, answer me! The scene was broadcast live nationwide on television, with Hosoda’s eyes tightly shut and his body frozen in place. Izumi, you said it well! Hosoda’s speech was subjected to noisy criticism, which included such criticisms as “violating the rules of the Diet,” “breaking with tradition,” and “disrespectful behavior.

It was impossible for Mr. Hosoda, who has been accused of having a core relationship with the former Unification Church, to respond to the question on the spot. However, knowing this, he had included a question to Chairman Hosoda in his advance notice of questions. Representative Izumi refuted the criticism of the forbidden move.

The Chairman of the Diet is the highest authority in the Diet, and the Chairman of the Diet is the highest authority in the Diet. The Speaker of the Diet is the highest authority. If he or she has political doubts, it is the responsibility of the opposition parties to make sure that they are corrected. There should have been plenty of time for explanations at the Diet Steering Committee.

Politicians must answer any questions to the public in good faith. Yet, they were trying to get things done with a single piece of paper. I think Mr. Hosoda was even more disrespectful to the people.

This “code-breaking” maneuver resulted in the revelation of a new problem between Chairman Hosoda and the former Unification Church. Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the Diet, then sharply pointed out the discrepancy between the Nuclear Regulation Commission and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) at the Budget Committee. In contrast, METI Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura could do nothing but run away. A “fighting stance” has begun, centered on the executive committee.

The Cabinet’s approval rating has dropped to 30 percent or less. The approval rating of the Cabinet is below 30%, but the approval rating of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is in single digits. We still can’t reach it. We do not expect the people to support us so easily. I will continue to run until the people say that it is safe to entrust the LDP with power by verifying the deceptions and dishonesty of the LDP administration.

What the people want from the Diet is a place where the power of the ruling and opposition parties can be matched and where sufficient debate can take place without allowing self-righteousness on the part of the ruling party. Will the Rikken, led by Izumi, who has “changed his character,” be able to reach that level of power? This is a critical moment.

Izumi’s determination is evident in his willingness to take “mischievous” tactics as the leader of the first opposition party, which has a “single-digit approval rating.
  • Interview and text by Takashi Hashimoto Photo Afro

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