Legitimacy Crises

  • Albrecht Rothacher


With its incessant and ever-increasing financial needs, Japan’s political system is structurally corrupt. The extent of personal corruption of an individual politician is then a discretionary matter in a very grey area. Yohei Kono, an intelligent and therefore cynical actor in this elite, compared the implication in the Recruit scandal to a speeding ticket: except for cyclists all are sinners, and a few unlucky ones get caught.1 While corruption — the trade-off between corporate and private donations for special favours and services by the politician — is a daily occurrence, an affair which qualifies as a major scandal that is played up by the media and subsequently brings down a government happens on average only once a decade. While the material is plentiful, it is only a very few select stories that make it into a scandal and a national obsession.


Public Prosecutor Political Reform Tokyo District Cabinet Secretary Kawasaki City 
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  1. 2.
    See also Bernd Reddies, Der Recruit Skandal in Japan (Tokyo: OAG Aktuell, 1989).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro, Yakuza: The Explosive Account of Japan’s Criminal Underworld (London: Macdonald, 1987).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Albrecht Rothacher 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albrecht Rothacher
    • 1
  1. 1.TokyoJapan

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