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Lawmakers’ income rose first time in five years in 2012

Kyodo

The income of national lawmakers rose for the first time in five years in 2012 to an annual average of ¥20.06 million, up ¥30,000, according to government figures released Monday.

The increase was primarily fueled by smaller salary cuts in 2012 than the previous year to help finance reconstruction efforts after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The average income of 212 lawmakers in the Lower House was ¥20.61 million, according to the data. The average income of 230 lawmakers in the Upper House was ¥19.56 million.

The top five income earners all belong to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Kunio Hatoyama, a former minister of internal affairs and communications and a member of the Lower House, led the pack at ¥332.63 million, including ¥290 million from sales of Bridgestone Corp. shares. His late mother is the daughter of the tire maker’s founder.

Hirohiko Nakamura of the Upper House ranked second with annual income of ¥77.55 million, followed by Ichiro Kamoshita, LDP Diet affairs chief in the Lower House, who earned ¥67.03 million.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earned ¥38.79 million, the third- highest of all party leaders behind Seikatsu no To (People’s Life Party) leader Ichiro Ozawa with ¥55.50 million and Midori no Kaze (Green Wind) leader Kuniko Tanioka with ¥49.90 million.

Tanioka was the highest earning female lawmaker surveyed.

Abe’s income rose by ¥16.95 million from the previous year as revenue from delivering speeches, writing manuscripts and other sources roughly doubled to ¥10.71 million. He also received income from the sale of a land-lease right.

This year’s data covered a record low 442 lawmakers, since a large number had won their first seats or retook a former seat during the House of Representatives election last December, meaning they weren’t required to report income.

Only Diet members who are in office for more than a year are required by law to report their annual income.