Hashimoto Toru and Fusaho Izumi, two men of oil and water, had a fierce argument. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Hashimoto Toru and Fusaho Izumi, two men of oil and water, had a fierce argument.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
The three shake hands stiffly after the heated talk event. From left: Mr. Samejima, Mr. Hashimoto, and Mr. Izumi.

On July 15, Fusaho Izumi, 59, former mayor of Akashi City in Hyogo Prefecture and known as the “fighting mayor,” gave a talk in Ikebukuro to commemorate the publication of his book, “Politics is Fighting! (Kodansha), and former Osaka Governor Toru Hashimoto, 54, attended the talk event in Ikebukuro to commemorate the publication of his book, “Akashi Mayor’s 12 Years” (Kodansha). The two men have experience as chief executives of local governments and are related to each other from their days as legal apprentices.

The event started at 14:00. Journalist Hiroshi Samejima, the moderator of the event, said, “I was relieved to see Mr. Hashimoto’s face. I thought he would not come in anger. We had to hastily separate the waiting rooms,” he began in a joking tone.”

“Today I would like to engage in a policy debate.”

As soon as he started, Hashimoto was furious that Izumi had divulged his fee on Twitter on the previous day, 14, saying, “I heard that Hashimoto-san’s fee for this event is 1 million yen. As the title of his book suggests, he opened with “Fighting is fine,” and then told Izumi, “It is against social common sense to divulge other people’s remuneration. If you want to do it properly in terms of policy, I will agree, but you should quit denying humanity,” he continued.

In response to Hashimoto’s passionate speech, Izumi responded calmly, “Today, I would like to have a policy debate,” and the two began to evaluate the Abe and Kishida administrations.

Hashimoto then began criticizing Kiyomi Tsujimoto, 63, a member of the House of Councilors of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. The event, which was supposed to be a dialogue, soon turned into a “Hashimoto solo performance.

In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, Tsujimoto said, “Mr. Abe and Mr. Kishida have one thing in common: they are both hereditary politicians. He said, ‘They are members of the Diet because they were forced to wear the ghetto of being hereditary politicians, so they don’t study hard enough and they don’t have a real sense of life. That’s insane. The symbol of Kiyomi Tsujimoto, or rather, the person who pretends to be righteous or moral is the one who has no morality or humanity. It’s also extremely slanderous. There is no way she hasn’t studied.

Hashimoto then turned the tables on the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and Izumi.

Politicians are neither religious nor ethical people. You need to have the ability to bring people together. That is what is lacking in the current DPJ. In general, many people lack human appeal. It is the people of the Constitutional Democratic Party who are the first to criticize those who have committed adultery. But the LDP people are silent, saying that human beings are like that. The depth of their nostalgia is different. They are quick to deny and insult humanity. I don’t want to work with them. People don’t come together. I think Mr. Izumi has that trait, too.

Hashimoto is angry about Izumi’s comments on Twitter.

On July 1, Hashimoto and former Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui, 59, announced their intention to establish a consulting firm, Matsui-Hashimoto Associates. The company’s website stated, “We will support the smooth operation of your business by facilitating access and coordination with government organizations and related companies.

Izumi criticized the company on Twitter, saying that it was effectively a mouthpiece and that he felt shameful because he was not that much in need of money. Hashimoto responded, “The current hush money of Diet members is opaque and terrible. That’s why we started the project,” he continued.

The two men’s opinions about the Abe and Kishida administrations clashed.

We were trying to create a transparent and fair model of support for small and medium-sized enterprises from the private sector. The public has no access to the centers of power. They cannot make their voices heard. Presidents of small and medium-sized companies are beholden to politicians and forced to buy party tickets (from politicians). I wanted to do something about this distorted access.

We have the know-how and can provide support. Only a few people who know what they are doing are successfully using subsidies. The president of a small business didn’t know there was such a subsidy. They say, ‘I didn’t know there was such a subsidy. If you try to do that kind of thing, they say, ‘It’s a hush-hush business. People who don’t know anything and say, ‘It’s pathetic,’ don’t attract people. You can’t build relationships.

Izumi countered with gestures.

We have to change the old politics of reality. We need to change the old politics, which is full of old ties. We don’t have that idea. What is it that someone who has served as the head of an administrative body dares to do?

What is important is the use of power.

Hashimoto said that Izumi’s idea that the Expo is no good because it is close to power is very different from his own, and that the Expo can be held in Osaka because it is close to power.

He continued, “It is not a question of whether you are close to power or far from it. It is not a question of whether you are close to power or far from it, but how you use that power. Power is necessary to change the world. If I become a powerful person, I can change things immediately. You have to criticize the means, how you use it. People who are like the Constitutional Democratic Party immediately talk in terms of whether they are close to or far from power, and whether they are anti-authority or not. Mr. Izumi’s opinions are also idealistic, like a class representative, and all he says is that he wants to change things. In order to make the world a better place, Mr. Izumi should form a political party and take action.”

In response, Izumi said, “Mr. Hashimoto is a hard-headed person. He has been simplistic in his thinking since a few minutes ago, saying, ‘This is how people in the Constitutional Democratic Party think.

Osaka politics is dominated by the Osaka Restoration Association. The Osaka Restoration Party is the ruling party, with more than half of the prefectural assembly and city council members as well as the head of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly and the Osaka City Assembly.
Real-time voting by the audience was also conducted at the talk event.

During Izumi’s tenure as Akashi mayor, the city council was opposed by the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party, which had a majority in the city council, making it difficult for him to realize his policies. Even if the mayor sets forth a policy, if it is opposed by the city council, it cannot be realized. The current Osaka Prefectural and City Councils are able to realize their policies without the need to take measures against the council.

In the April local elections, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura (48), a member of the Osaka Restoration Association, proposed “completely free high school tuition with no income restrictions,” which will be applied from the third grade of the next school year and extended to all grades in the 2014 school year. This is the first time for all prefectures to completely free high school tuition.

Both Izumi and Samejima highly appreciate the fact that the Ishin is going head-to-head with the LDP in the Kansai region, gaining the support of voters and realizing its policies. Both Izumi and Hashimoto agreed that, although the LDP is the dominant party in Japan, the national government can be changed by starting from the local level, as in Osaka, and both said that it is necessary to create a political force that can compete with the LDP.

Hashimoto denied the possibility of returning to politics.

Izumi further said, “It doesn’t matter who takes the first opposition party; the Ishin and Rikken will hold preliminary elections in the constituencies, unify their candidates, and face off against the LDP’s candidates in the final round.

Izumi spoke highly of Hashimoto’s ability to communicate and break through, and when asked about a return to politics, Hashimoto denied it.

I don’t think so. I am annoyed by all the things people say about me. Even if I became a private citizen, I would still be told things. If I became a public figure, I would be told even more.

I think being a politician is something that the times demand. It is not something you do because you want to do it or say you want to do it. What is wrong with many Diet members is that they want to be politicians even though the times don’t demand it.

Once again denying that he was running for office, Hashimoto walked away. After Hashimoto was gone, Samejima asked Izumi if Hashimoto would return to politics, to which Izumi immediately replied, “I’m not running.

He said, “I ‘m not going to run.”

The day may soon come when Hashimoto and the “fighting mayor” will join forces to create a political force that can compete with the LDP.

  • Interview and text by Daisuke Iwasaki Daisuke Iwasaki

Photo Gallery3 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles