Playback ’94] “Pow! The shooting incident of former Prime Minister Hosokawa occurred in front of the photographer of this magazine. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Playback ’94] “Pow! The shooting incident of former Prime Minister Hosokawa occurred in front of the photographer of this magazine.

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The culprit who was quickly jostled by the SP (June 17, ’94 issue)

What did “FRIDAY” report 10, 20, or 30 years ago? Playback Friday” takes a look back at topics that were hot at the time. This time, we will report on the ” Hosokawa sniper,” as witnessed by a photographer for the June 17, 1994 issue, 30 years ago.

The Hosokawa cabinet was formed in August 1993 as a coalition government of eight parties, including the Japan New Party led by Morihiro Hosokawa (56 at the time), which came into power after the collapse of the LDP’s 55-year rule. Although popular immediately after its inauguration with a high approval rating of around 70%, Hosokawa resigned on April 25 after only nine months in power due to the controversy over the repayment of loans from Sagawa Express and other issues. After that, Mr. Hosokawa was said to have been moving from one hotel to another in Tokyo and was “hiding in the clouds. The incident occurred when he appeared in public for the first time in many years. (Descriptions in parentheses below are taken from past articles.)

“Pow! and a loud sound like a cracker was heard.

On May 30, a party was held on the 5th floor of the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo, to commemorate the establishment of the Japan New Party Tokyo. At the party, Hosokawa showed no signs of fatigue from his “secluded life” and was said to be in high spirits, expressing his desire to remain as the party’s representative.

The photographer who entered the venue to capture Mr. Hosokawa’s facial expression, shot a shutter toward the former prime minister as he moved, surrounded by SPs, and then went ahead to the entrance hall to take pictures from another angle.

Eventually, the elevator doors opened and out stepped the former prime minister. “Pow!” was heard as the former prime minister approached a few meters before the doorway.

Three or four security guards ran toward one man as if he had been shot. Reflexively, he ran after him and saw the face of the criminal about to be assembled in front of him. Hold him down, hold him down! I pressed the shutter repeatedly amid shouts of “Hold him down, hold him down!

Where is the gun? One of them snatched the gun out of the gunman’s hand, put it in his inside pocket, and said, “It’s right here! The gun is here! The arrest took only a minute or two.

The man arrested was a former executive of a right-wing organization. The man told investigators that he did it because he was angry with Mr. Hosokawa’s remarks about the war of aggression and other such incidents. According to the news report, the perpetrator fired a warning shot at the ceiling directly above the entrance hall, but Mr. Hosokawa told Senator Banri Kaieda about the situation at that time the day after the incident.

The day after the incident, Mr. Hosokawa told Senator Banri Kaieda what happened. I thought, “Ah! I saw that the gun was pointed upward and shot at me. That was terrifying.

After the incident, when Hosokawa met the press at his private residence in Shibuya Ward, he kept his poker face, but inside, he was still chilled. However, there was a view in Nagatacho circles that the incident would be a tailwind for Hosokawa.

If the situation continued as is, it was thought that nearly 10 people would leave the Japan New Party before the June 11 meeting of the national delegates. However, the shooting incident has increased Hosokawa’s advocacy within the party and made it difficult for him to leave the party. Hosokawa’s reappointment as party leader is now as good as decided.

Although Hosokawa seemed to have escaped the crisis of his political life, the LDP was still vigilantly seeking to drag him to testify before the Diet on the issue of the loan from Sagawa Express. Although he was not hit by the thugs’ bullets, Hosokawa was a prime target of the LDP, the largest opposition party.

Prime Minister Haneda assisted Hosokawa’s cabinet, but the Socialist Party’s withdrawal from the coalition government left Hosokawa as the ruling minority, and he was called to testify before the Diet in June. However, the LDP, perhaps having achieved its goal by removing Hosokawa from the prime minister’s seat, did not seem to pursue the borrowing issue any further. The Haneda cabinet also resigned after only two months. The LDP and the Socialist Party, which had been the biggest political rivals up to that point, joined forces to form the “Ultra C” coalition government of their own party.

In 1998, Hosokawa retired from politics on the occasion of his 60th birthday. In 2002, he ran for governor of Tokyo with the recommendation of Junichiro Koizumi and lost the election to Yoichi Masuzoe. However, as the head of the Hosokawa family, he serves as the chairman of the Eiseibunko Foundation and is mainly active as a tea master and ceramic artist. He also appears to exhibit his own paintings at exhibitions and auctions and donates the proceeds to support Ukraine. However, he has not refused any involvement in politics, and he still receives requests from current members of the Diet to meet with him.

Mr. Hosokawa leaving the venue surrounded by SPs. The incident occurred after this (July 17, ’94 issue).
  • PHOTO Takashi Hotta

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