The Recruit scandal dominated the media in the late 1980s and has become a notorious symbol of money politics in Japan. The image of “government for sale” undermined public faith in politicians while raising questions about values in a society uncomfortable with the unbridled materialism associated with the Bubble era.

In the frothy economy of the day, speculators were amassing fortunes in stocks and land. Just as Takafumi Horie became the target for prosecutors in 2006, Hiromasa Ezoe contends that he was subject to a media-driven, judicial mugging.

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