Japanese is a difficult language, and even native speakers can sound awkward at times. This happened last month when 自民党 (Jimintō, Liberal Democratic Party) Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai was asked to comment on a vote-buying scandal in his party.

党としても、他山の石として、しっかり対応していかなければ” (Tō to shite mo, tazan no ishi to shite, shikkari taiō shite-ikanakereba, The party must deal with this by letting it be an object lesson).

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