In this climate of global financial crisis, it can’t be heartening to discover that the guy in charge of your country’s economy is a bumbling booze-hound. This was the case in Japan a couple of weeks ago, when the finance minister, Shoichi Nakagawa, showed up at a G7 summit in Italy, as shit-faced as a 17-year-old sailor on shore leave, and proceeded to slur his way through a nonsensical, factually-innaccurate speech on live television for all the world to see. For the Japanese, who routinely hand over a sizeable chunk of their monthly wages for their government pensions, to witness that blundering dipsomaniac’s performance in the knowledge that he was in control of their life’s savings, must have been like finding out that your priceless Ming vase had been entrusted to the Three Stooges.
Nakagawa blamed his bad behaviour on taking too much cold medicine, but he wasn’t fooling anyone, and was forced to resign (let’s see how unemployment affects his alcohol problem!) The nation collectively bowed their heads in shame and embarrassment, as opposed to the cackles of glee that the disgrace of a statesman invariably provokes in western countries, where people love nothing more than having the opportunity to mock and poke fun at snooty authority figures.
Which is what I shall proceed to do now!
A bit of research reveals that Nakagawa’s a typical, old, out-of-touch politician, who got his job via an expensive private education and his Dad pulling strings (his father was the prominent Hokkaidō politician, Ichiro Nakagawa).
And, much like a spoiled Hollywood brat, he’s been getting up to a lot of booze-fueled tomfoolery over the years.
Even though I can hardly blame the guy for turning to the bottle during the worst financial crisis in decades, by nature I find Nakagawa’s humiliating alco-antics pretty funny, and will catalogue them below. here they are:
Shoichi Nakagawa’s Top 6 Most Hilarious Drunken Mishaps!
1: Appearing on Global TV, Totally Rat-Arsed, and Disgracing a Nation.
2: Setting off a Security Alarm in the Vatican
During the same fateful trip to Italy, the bungling politician caused a scene in a Vatican museum, with slapstick antics worthy of Inspector Clouseau. While being shown around the museum by the ambassador and other local dignitaries, the accident-prone minister wandered around the museum like he owned the place, touching an off-limits priceless statue, not once but twice, and setting off a security alarm. Reportedly, he even sat on a precious exhibit, almost as if it were a bar-stool.
3: Freaking People Out by Screwing Up a Festive Tradition
In Japan, it is common practice for politicians to paint one eye of a traditional Daruma doll before an election for good luck, then to paint the other eye if they win, to show that their wish has been fulfilled. In June 2000, when a swaggering, inebriated Nakagawa found out he’d been elected for a sixth term in office in Obihiro, Hokkaido, he stuck his brush in the inkpot to paint the doll’s eye. Unfortunately, the clumsy nitwit put way too much ink on the brush and ended up splattering the doll’s face with black ink. Witnesses to this cock-up were horrified- black tears were not exactly the symbol of optimism that voters were looking for on election day.
4: Showing Up Wasted for His first Cabinet Meeting
In September 2004, then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi decided to have a Cabinet re-shuffle. At the time, Shoichi was somehow minister of economy, trade and industry. On the day that Koizumi was to announce his new team, Nakagawa, perhaps anticipating that his glory days were over, held a farewell news conference, before leaving the ministry for the nearest pub to get totally pissed-up.
Surprisingly, however, Nakagawa was reappointed and, still smashed, he had to rush back to the prime minister’s office. As a result, Nakagawa spent his first Cabinet meeting utterly shit-faced.
5: Causing a Massive Slide in Stocks by Being Hungover
Last October, in the midst of the financial crisis, as bankers around the world were pulling their hair out in frustration, the Japanese government decided that Nakagawa should hold a news conference to inform the public of his emergency measures to stabilize the market. Nonchalant Nakagawa sauntered up to the podium 15 minutes late, and didn’t have anything helpful to say. He hadn’t actually come up with any decent emergency measures. Somehow, this useless announcement dragged on well into the afternoon and, consequently, the worst slide in stocks in decades wasn’t stopped in time. Japan’s economy was buggered. The notorious drunkard Nakagawa was rumoured to be hung-over at the time, and was slammed by the press for his lax response. Nice going, Shoichi!
6: Late, Drunk, Almost Bumping into a Pillar
In 2006, when Nakagawa was somehow head of the government’s “Policy Research Council”, he indulged in a little old-fashioned Mr.Bean-style physical comedy. Most people, when asked to attend a high-profile meeting between various important political figures, would work hard to be punctual and well-prepared. Not our Shoichi!
When expected at a conference in a plush Tokyo hotel, between the the Policy Research Council bosses, the secretaries general of the ruling parties, and the governent affairs chiefs, Shoichi arrived late, was too trashed to walk in a straight line, and very nearly bumped into a concrete pillar. D’oh!
All of this would be acceptable if he were a nice guy, but Nakagawa’s an out-of-date chauvinist. In a (surely drunken) interview with the UK’s Daily Telegraph, about Japan’s declining birthrate, he boorishly declared that “Women have their proper place: they should be womanly. They have their own abilities and these should be fully exercised, for example in flower arranging, sewing, or cooking.”
The woman’s place is in the kitchen, eh, Shoichi?
That might be the case in your house, pal, but I suspect it’s because you, yourself, are either too smashed to cook without burning the house down, or because you’d be drinking all the cooking sherry.
And if the birth-rate is declining in the Nakagawa household, it may well be because you’re too pissed to get it up.
Hold on. Drink problems? Sexist? Following in Daddy’s footsteps? He’s the Japanese Charlie Sheen!