Horie defies his own words to run for political office

by Reiji Yoshida

Those who have read the book recently penned by Livedoor Co. President Takafumi Horie must be surprised by his intention to run in the upcoming general election.

Horie announced Friday he will run as an independent in the Hiroshima No. 6 district, praising Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s postal privatization drive and “reformist” spirit.

But in his book, Horie took a dim view of politics. “A smart guy wouldn’t want to become a politician,” the 32-year-old Horie wrote in “Boku wa Shinanai” (“I Will Never Die”), released in March. “At least I myself would never do so, because there aren’t any incentives to become a politician.”

He went on: “(Koizumi) sticks too much to postal (privatization issues). I wouldn’t say it’s the issue of No. 1 priority, if asked for my opinion.”

During his news conference last week at Liberal Democratic Party headquarters, however, Horie said he agrees totally with the prime minister’s postal privatization push, citing it as the top reason he jumped into the House of Representatives election.

His detractors say this is no sincere change of heart, and that he sees the election as yet another way to raise both his and his firm’s media exposure.

The flood of coverage of Livedoor’s moves, such as its attempt to acquire a pro baseball team and its high-profile battle for control of a radio broadcaster, pushed up monthly home-user page views of its portal site to 527 million in June, 6.4 times that of a year earlier.