中川財務大臣の辞任

 今日は中川財務大臣の辞任です。

Shoichi Nakagawa resigns as Japanese Finance Minister over 'drunken' performance at G7
February 17, 2009 Leo Lewis in Tokyo

Japan’s Finance Minister has fallen on his sword and resigned amid growing public rage over what appeared to be drunken behaviour at last weekend’s G7 summit in Rome.

Shoichi Nakagawa’s resignation, which was accepted with immediate effect today, could not come at a more fragile time for the government of Prime Minister Taro Aso ? a leader who is fast becoming Japan’s most unpopular ever, and who stands accused by the public of dithering on the country’s rapidly deteriorating economic problems.

Mr Nakagawa will be replaced by Kaoru Yosano, the Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister, who has indicated that he would consider additional stimulus measures to rescue the economy.

Mr Nakagawa’s decision to step down came as he faced an opposition-led censure motion, which he would almost certainly have lost, and a rising tide of disgust from within his own party.

Mr Nakagawa, who was sticking today with his excuse that a combination of jetlag and cough mixture got the better of him, initially said that he would stay on until parliament gave the green light to a supplementary budget aimed at steering Japan out of the sharpest recessionary plunge in its history. A few hours later, under a barrage of condemnation, he said that he would depart immediately because of "the atmosphere in parliament”.

A number of politicians have come forward today with anecdotal evidence of Mr Nakagawa's odd behaviour ? he has, for example, been spotted bumping into the doorframes along the corridors of power.

Kenji Yamaoka, the head of the parliamentary affairs committee of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said yesterday that there was "nobody in the Diet [parliament] who did not know" about Mr Nakagawa's fondness for a tipple.

Video footage has also surfaced of an incident in parliament in 2006 when Mr Nakagawa stopped speaking during a speech and stood silent and virtually motionless for about half a minute before sitting down. At the time, he blamed medicine he was taking for back pain.

Monday’s quarterly GDP figures showed Japan’s exports ? the engine of national growth ? sliding at record pace. Tokyo stocks tumbled on the combined miseries of an economy in distress and the lack of a steady rudder in government.

Naomi Fink, a strategist at the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, said that the markets were finally waking up to the political crisis that has put Japanese democracy in its current “leadership nadir”.

She added: “This time the media are not the only ones taking notice; markets have woken up to the realities of Japan’s deteriorating political situation and do not like what they see."

Japanese stocks, which were all but impervious to the largest quarterly decline in growth since the 1970s, had taken notice this time, she said.

In addition to the growing financial turmoil gripping Japan, over the past three years the leadership of the country has changed three times, with countless cabinet reshuffles and resignations in between.

In a hastily convened press conference today, Mr Nakagawa apologised “for causing such a big fuss”. But in what appeared to be confirmation of public and parliamentary suspicions that he was indeed drunk during his Rome press conference, he hinted that may soon hospitalise himself to “prevent myself doing any further damage”.

Rumours regarding Mr Nakagawa’s fondness for alcohol have been swirling in political circles for many years. The former prime minister, Yoshiro Mori, said yesterday that he was aware of the Finance Minister’s fondness for a drink and had previously warned him not to overdo things.

“The TV footage was shocking,” Seiko Noda, the Consumer Minister, said. “A Cabinet minister must be fit and he needs more self -control.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5751583.ece

 中川大臣がG7後の記者会見に酩酊状態で出席したことの責任を取り、辞任しました。これは酷い事件です。いや、酩酊状態の中川大臣が酷いではなく、彼に記者会見を強行させたことが酷いと思いました。

 元記事には日本のテレビでも放映された映像が掲載されています。ろれつが回らない話し方で応答したり、記者の質問が聞き取れなかったり、質問とは違う筋の回答をしたり、中川大臣の酷い姿が映っています。痛々しくて見ているのが辛いです。

 誰もが疑問の感じるところでしょうが、なぜこのような状態の大臣を記者会見に出席させたのでしょう。大臣に同行した人々はなぜ止めなかったのでしょう。へろへろの中川大臣が適切に記者会見を乗り切れるとは小学生でも考えないでしょう。

 報道の側としても、なぜこのような状態の中川大臣の姿を報道しようとしたのでしょう。会場にいた記者たちのなかには、これはまずいと感じて会見の中止や代役を求める人はいなかったのでしょうか。面白ければそれで良いのでしょうか。

 とはいえ、日本のマスコミが死んでいることは世界の常識ですから、こちらの点は置いておきましょう。不思議に感じる点は前者です。つまり、大臣の同行者たちは何をしていたのか、という点です。

 記者会見を強行した事情はあるでしょう。今回のG7は世界的な金融危機のなかで開催されたものであり、そのような重要な会議後の記者会見に中川大臣を出席させないわけにはいかなかった、という事情です。しかし、これに納得できる人はいないでしょう。

 酩酊状態の中川大臣を公式の場に出せば、辞任に追い込まれるような事態になることは予測できたはずです。それを予測できないような人しか同行しなかったとでもいうのでしょうか。あまりにも対応が杜撰です。

 なお、酩酊状態という言葉は意図的に使っています。今日の記事にある映像を見る限り、酒に酔っているというよりも、服薬による作用がお酒で増幅されていると感じたからです。風邪薬、正確には解熱剤でも服薬していたのではないでしょうか。

 いずれにしても、酷い事件です。もっとも、こうした事態を回避できなかった中川大臣にも責任はあると思います。服薬しながら飲酒してしまった責任というよりも、酩酊状態で記者会見に無理矢理出席させられた責任ですが。

 さて、ネット上では中川大臣は実は酩酊状態ではなかった、という説が有力視されています。酩酊ではなく恍惚だったという説です。いわゆるガチホモ説です。案外、これが真相なのかもしれません。

自己紹介

benyamin ♂

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