One in five Diet members received pensions from their earlier jobs, on top of their 24.03 million yen basic salary as legislators, according to the report on lawmakers’ 1999 income released Monday.
A total of 96 Lower House and 72 Upper House members — mostly ex-bureaucrats, prefectural and municipal assembly members, schoolteachers and labor union officials of major corporations — reported pension revenue in their 1999 income report.
Yoshio Suzuki, 68, of the Liberal Party, reported 8.98 million yen in miscellaneous income, including pension benefits from his previous job as Bank of Japan director.
“I paid my pension premiums working (for the BOJ) until age 65. I am healthy now, but who knows what will happen?” Suzuki asked.
Asked to comment on criticism of Diet members receiving retirement pensions in addition to their hefty income as legislators, Suzuki said, “If I am to be told to forgo the fruits of my self-help efforts, that would be communism.”
Liberal Democratic Party member Kazuo Torashima, 72, served as an assemblyman in his hometown of Fukue, Nagasaki Prefecture, and as a Nagasaki prefectural assemblyman before he became a Lower House member. He receives some 2.74 million yen in total benefits from three pension sources.
Torashima indicated that he might agree to revising relevant laws to suspend the payment of pension benefits to Diet members while they are in office.
The income report also showed that 206 of the 480 Lower House members and 96 of the 252 Upper House members receive extra income from serving as board members or as advisers to companies and other groups.
Tetsuo Kitamura, a former Lower House member of the Democratic Party of Japan, concurrently acted as an adviser to nine firms and organizations and sat on the boards of four other companies. The 1.39 million yen in total income he received from such jobs was mostly spent on the cost of maintaining his law office, Kitamura said.
LDP member Masashi Nakano, who was not re-elected to the Lower House in the June 25 election, reported 14 million yen in income from the 11 different positions he held in various companies.
Upper House member Susumu Yanase of the DPJ reported income of 290,000 yen from his positions with 11 organizations, but his law firm said Yanase was 2.54 million yen in the red from his jobs outside the Diet.
Some Diet members earned large incomes from their investments in information technology-related stocks, the income report shows.
Hisao Horinouchi of the LDP, a former agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister, purchased five shares in NTT DoCoMo Inc. for 20 million yen in January last year. The value of his stake in NTT DoCoMo increased to 70 million yen when the leading cellular phone company introduced a five-for-one stock split later in the year.
Yukiko Kawahashi of the DPJ is reported to own 500 shares in Softbank Corp. According to Kawahashi’s office, the lawmaker had earlier purchased the firm’s convertible bonds with 5 million yen in retirement allowances that she obtained when she quit the Labor Ministry 10 years ago.
She converted the bonds into Softbank stocks in September. Softbank stocks hit an all-time high of 198,000 yen in February, but have since plunged sharply. It has recently been quoted in the 13,000 yen range.
Kawahashi’s office said that she merely purchased the convertible bonds recommended by brokerage sales representatives.