Next Level Banana Republic: Japan State Finance Minister Resigns After Getting Caught Evading Taxes

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Nov 14, 2023 - 04:40 AM

We have frequently said that Japan's top government and central bank power echelons are nothing more than a grotesque circus of utter incompetence...

... and the latest news out of that basket case banana republic have just confirmed out cynicism once again.

In a "shocking" twist of events out of the land of the rising sun banana, Japan’s State Finance Minister, Kenji Kanda - best known for doing nothing and just watching as Japan's currency craters to record lows while unleashing historic inflation on the local population - has stepped down following allegations of tax evasion, delivering a fresh blow to the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, which may well be the most incompetent in recent Japanese history, and which is already grappling with the departure of two other Cabinet members since the recent cabinet reshuffle in September.

According to BNN, Kanda's resignation came in the wake of a magazine report alleging that Kanda’s company had defaulted on its tax payments. The Finance Minister didn’t deny these claims. Instead, he confirmed that the authorities had seized his company’s land and property due to non-payment of fixed asset taxes.

The opposition parties didn’t let this opportunity slip by. They criticized Kanda for his financial improprieties, and there were widespread calls for his resignation. In the end, "Kanda had to bow to mounting pressure and vacate his ministerial post" or in other words, jump on the land mine and take one for the Kishida team which has at best bought itself a week or two of extra time.

The fourth-term lower house member Kanda has confessed that he had skipped compulsory annual lectures for tax accountants, as alleged by the Shukan Bunshun weekly, which also reported the tax scandal in early November.

"I became busy with national political affairs, and the weight of my tax accountant work decreased," Kanda said in a parliamentary session last week. "Demand letters and other matters were left to the staff at the tax accountant's office. I was too busy to get involved."

Kinda like Tim "Turbo-Tax" Geithner... remember him?

An opposition lawmaker, who has called Kanda a "criminal," said his tax delinquency had given the impression that people do not have to pay taxes. Kanda apologized but initially denied he would resign as senior vice finance minister.

Kenta Izumi, chief of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said it is "too late" for Kanda to decide to step down, adding, "Questions are being raised about Prime Minister Kishida's responsibility for the appointment."

Izumi indicated that his party will not participate in Diet deliberations on a supplementary budget for the fiscal year through March 2024 to fund the new economic stimulus package, scheduled to start later this month, unless Kishida replaces Kanda.

This incident marks the third time an official has resigned from a ministerial position since Prime Minister Kishida reshuffled his cabinet in September. The successive resignations have raised questions about Kishida’s choice of cabinet members and his ability to steer the government.

Akira Koike, head of the secretariat of the Japanese Communist Party, also criticized Kishida, telling reporters, "The prime minister's responsibility for delaying this far is significant. It is a symbol of sloppy governance."

Meanwhile, the grossly incompetent Prime Minister - whose recent track record culminates with crushing the currency, unleashing galloping inflation, and promising extremely unpopular fiscal stimulus and cash handouts with which to "defeat" inflation - has at most a few more months as his latest polls confirmed: according to an NHK poll published Monday, the approval for Kishida's cabinet fell 7% to 29% the lowest since he took office in Oct. 2021.

In any other country, this would have been a sufficient condition for angry riots in front of the prime ministry. But for Japan's zombified population of complacent sheep, where not even the historic currency collapse and near record runaway inflation seems to register, it's unclear just what can finally wake the local gerontocracy out of its terminal coma.