Sauna Diet Members’ Allegedly Had a Sauna Party with the Theme of “Mixed Bathing” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Sauna Diet Members’ Allegedly Had a Sauna Party with the Theme of “Mixed Bathing”

About 50 Diet members, including women, are members, and the chairman and advisors are LDP bigwigs.

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When we asked Mr. Takeda, who came out of the sauna with a red face, about “mixed bathing,” he glanced at the reporter and said, “I was surprised when I received the ‘invitation’ around late March.”

When I asked him about “mixed bathing,” he glared at the reporter and said, “To be honest, I was surprised when I received the invitation in late March. The COVID-19 crisis is now under control, so it is still understandable to hold a face-to-face meeting. Some of the female staff members of the party were donkey’s mouth,” said a mid-level opposition party member.

On April 4, a reception for the “Bipartisan Diet Members Caucus for Sauna Promotion” was held at a sauna facility in Tokyo. The Sauna Diet Members Caucus was established in November of last year to “study legislation on sauna facilities,” among other things. It is literally a nonpartisan organization, with former LDP Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Ryota Takeda (55) serving as its chairman, The Japan Innovation Party’s National Diet Committee Chairman Takashi Endo (54) as acting chairman, and LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Kōichi Hagiuda (59) and Rikken Democratic Party Representative Kenta Izumi (48) as advisors. The total number of members of the group is approximately 50. Many female Diet members, including Tomomi Inada (64) of the Liberal Democratic Party, are also members.

The reception held on April 4 was the first such get-together for the Sauna Council members, but what caused controversy was the invitation to the event. Surprisingly, the invitation stated, “Swimsuits must be worn (rental available) due to mixed bathing. A mid-level opposition party member was astonished.”

“I heard that in Europe and the U.S., the culture of men and women wearing bathing suits is common, but I think it is clearly excessive to suddenly implement this at the first meeting of the Sauna Diet members’ Caucus. I heard that several female Diet members were also told that it was a mixed bathing experience, and I questioned the nerve of the upper management of the Diet members’ association.

Why was he upset when directly confronted?

Having obtained an invitation in advance, this magazine visited a sauna facility in Tokyo on the day of the reception. Since a banquet was to be held after the sauna, a man who appeared to be a Diet member’s secretary was seen bringing in two beer kegs from around 5:30 pm.

Around 6:00 p.m., the assembly members began to enter the facility, and after Chairman Takeda arrived, the reception started at 7:30 p.m. The reception was attended by about 10 assembly members.

About 10 councilors gathered that day. Two female councilors, Masako Mori, 58, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, and Mizuho Umemura, 44, a member of the Restoration Association, attended the party.

“Was the get-together really held in mixed bathing and swimsuits?” When this magazine’s reporter approached the assembly members who emerged from the sauna at around 9:00 p.m., all of them, for some reason, hid their faces in a stealthy manner and tried to leave quickly. When we managed to ask Chairman Takeda about mixed bathing as he was running to get into his car, he replied, “It’s not mixed bathing, at all!”

He replied, “It’s not a mixed bath, at all!”

He was somehow offended. When Mr. Umemura, covering his face with his hands, came out of the car, he too asked about mixed bathing,

“If that were the case, I wouldn’t have come! I wore a bathing suit and went in alone with a female councilor! I’m sorry, it wasn’t a mixed bathing experience. Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

He was very angry. The reporter of this magazine was only asking about what was written in the invitation sent out by the sauna association.

Mr. Yutaka Arai, 48, a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, was the only one who stopped to talk to the reporter. Mr. Arai is the secretary-general of the Sauna Diet.

“The Sauna Diet is working to change various laws and regulations (related to saunas) together,” he said. There are about 10 members of the Diet who attended today’s reception. The two women were Ms. Mizuho Umemura and Ms. Masako Mori. In the invitation, we did indeed describe it as mixed bathing, but in reality, men and women entered separately on different floors in the facility. Since there were several people who had seen the invitation and said, “I’ll join,” at first I thought it was fine to have a mixed bath, but the male teachers were rather surprised, saying, “Are women really going to wear swimsuits, too? I was surprised. So we separated them.”

As one might expect, it was not possible to have male and female legislators bicker about their opinions in frankly from the very first meeting.

“For some reason, Umemura kept her face covered with her hands throughout the meeting. The Sauna Caucus is more than just a fun group,” she said.
A letter of invitation sent out by the sauna caucus to Diet members in March. The bottom of the letter reads, “Swimsuits must be worn for mixed bathing.” About 10 people attended the event.

From the April 21 and 28, 2023 issues of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Toshikatsu Tanaka

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