The latest Japanese web sensation isn’t a J-pop group but a politician caught with his hand in the public cookie jar. Nonomura Ryutaro, a member of the Hyogo Prefectural government, gave a press conference this week to apologize for his embezzlement of some ¥3 million (about $30,000) for almost 200 “business trips” to several hot spring resorts. Nothing unusual or sensational there, you might think. But this was more like watching a 3-year-old hysterical temper tantrum than the usual display of remorse.
The tears and screams were accompanied by random, seemingly unrelated comments that sounded like excerpts from a stump speech – Nonomura ranting about wanting to change the world, or Japan’s aging society. All very bizarre. The predominant debate is over whether this is genuine remorse and anguish or an attempt to fake it in the hope of winning over public sympathy. Either way, we can only suggest that the guy get psychological help and should soon be leaving the world of politics. For a career in TV soaps, perhaps.
Below is a news report with excerpts from the press conference.