Average value of Diet lawmakers’ assets grows to ¥32 million

Kyodo

The average value of assets held by Lower House members came to ¥32.28 million, slightly up from a record low ¥31.52 million in the previous survey, released in February 2010, according to a Kyodo News tally based on data released Monday.

The amount, which covers financial assets, land and property as of the first day of their current term that started in December, increased for the first time since 1993, when a law came into effect requiring House of Representatives members to release such data.

Covered by the latest data are those who won their seats in last December’s election.

Kunio Hatoyama, a former minister of internal affairs and communications, had the highest value of assets, at ¥1.999 billion.

Saichi Kamiyama, who was elected to the Lower House in December for the first time, ranked second with ¥974.45 million, followed by Finance Minister Taro Aso, who doubles as deputy prime minister, with ¥436.23 million.

The top three all belong to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was 25th on the list, with ¥107.94 million, and he showed the sharpest drop among Lower House members — down ¥42.41 million from the previous survey.

The average value of assets held by the 184 new House of Representatives members, including those previously in the less-powerful House of Councilors, was ¥22.90 million, nearly doubling from ¥12.53 million in the previous survey.

There appears to have been an influx of wealthy newcomers after years of decline caused by the retirement of rich veterans and an increase in the number of young lawmakers with fewer assets.

The number of Lower House members with assets worth over ¥100 million grew to 26 from 25 in the previous survey.

As for shareholdings, only the names and numbers of shares were released. Hatoyama had more shares than anyone else in the Lower House.