This magazine has learned that a large banquet was held by members of The Japan Innovation Party in Osaka, where the prefectural government has asked its residents to keep meals to no more than four people at a table and no more than about two hours after December.
The party took place on December 2 at a yakitori restaurant in Shinsaibashi, Osaka. The party started around 6:30 p.m. when Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui, 57, entered the restaurant in his official car. The name of the party was said to be a “victory celebration” for Osaka’s 14th district in the general election held at the end of October. An official of The Japan Innovation Party testified.
It was a victory party for Osaka’s Ward 14 in the general election held at the end of October,” The Japan Innovation Party official testified. “There were about 30 people in all, including Mayor Matsui and two of his office staff, House of Representatives member Hitoshi Aoyagi, who was elected from Ward 14 for the first time, his secretary, the mayor and city councilors of Yao City, which is included in Ward 14, the mayor and city councilors of Habikino City, Kashiwara City, Fujiidera City, and many prefectural assembly members whose home districts are in Ward 14. A total of about 30 people attended the meeting. The meeting fee was 3,000 yen. I heard that Mr. Matsui, a regular customer of the restaurant, made the reservation himself.
During the banquet, the restaurant completely ignored the request of the Osaka prefectural government.
The tables were divided into groups of four, acrylic panels were installed, and windows were opened for ventilation. However, it was difficult to say that the limit on the number of people at the table was being met because the council members were going to Mr. Matsui’s table one after another to greet him.
Furthermore, they did not care about the request of “no more than about two hours. The party, which started at 6:30 p.m., ended after three hours.
At 9:30 p.m., Representative Aoyagi and three other members of the House of Representatives waited in front of the restaurant. Then, Mayor Matsui came out with his hands in his pockets, accompanied by other council members.
“Thank you for your hard work!”
The council members with him greeted each other and bowed deeply. Mayor Matsui fluttered his hand out of his pocket, said “Good work, good work, good work,” and got into the shuttle car. He looked like a yakuza boss being seen off by his henchmen. After seeing the mayor off, the council members continued to chat in front of the restaurant in several groups, and finally broke up after 10 pm.
Another official of the Japan Innovation Party told us, “This ‘victory party’ was held to celebrate the mayor’s victory.
The organizer of this ‘victory party’ was Yasunori Nakatani, a member of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly. At the end of April this year, he contracted corona and was immediately hospitalized while more than 14,000 people in Osaka Prefecture were receiving treatment at home. Nakatani was criticized as a ‘privileged councilor. Nakatani is known as a “friend of Icchan (Mayor Matsui). There is an atmosphere within The Japan Innovation Party that you can’t go against your superiors, and it seems that there were many council members who couldn’t say no when Mr. Nakatani said, ‘Icchan will be there.
This magazine sent a letter of inquiry to The Japan Innovation Party, which Mayor Matsui represents, regarding the reason for holding the banquet with about 30 people and the names of the council members who participated, but received no response by the deadline. Koichi Kakutani, a political journalist, said.
In a normal sense, someone would have warned him that it would be a bad idea to gather 30 people and that it would not show the people of the prefecture. The Japan Innovation Party holds a majority in the prefectural and city assemblies and won the lower house election. They may have mistakenly thought that they would be allowed to do whatever they wanted. How is Mayor Matsui going to make excuses? It won’t be enough to say that they are special while forcing the people of the prefecture to suffer. This laxity will lead to the collapse of Japan Innovation Party.
It was Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura (46), head of the Initiatives from Osaka, who made the decision to continue requesting that the Osaka prefectural assembly meet for dinner after December. Since they themselves broke the rules they had set, shouldn’t they at least be held accountable for their actions?
From the December 24, 2021 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Takayuki Ogawauchi