The average income among Diet members in 1999 was 30.44 million yen, up 1.94 million yen from a year earlier, according to a report released Monday.
The top three income earners for the year were all Lower House members of the Liberal Democratic Party. Takashi Sasagawa took the No. 1 spot. His combined salary and profits from stock sales reached almost 2.09 billion yen.
Shozaburo Nakamura came in a distant second, taking home 439.3 million yen, largely from the sale of his tenant’s right on a piece of land. He was followed by Kazuna Matsumoto, who runs the drug store chain Matsumoto Kiyoshi, with 156.51 million yen.
Sasagawa’s income boosted the average, but Diet members are still earning healthy incomes through the ongoing economic slump, analysts say.
Upper House member and lawyer Masako Owaki, the top income earner in 1998, went into the red last year.
Owaki, of the Social Democratic Party, apparently had to pay large amounts of business tax over her 1998 income — 303.26 million yen, largely thanks to an out-of-court settlement won for a client in a civil case.
Among political parties, the LDP ranked first in terms of average income at 36.22 million yen, followed by Kaikaku Club at 29.18 million yen.
The SDP, which topped the list in 1998, came in third last year at 26.57 million yen.
Eight lawmakers, including six LDP members, reported incomes of more than 100 million yen in 1999, while 32 Diet members, including 26 LDP members, earned more than 50 million yen.
Each lawmaker received at least the legislator’s basic annual salary of about 24.03 million yen in 1999.
Among party leaders, the Democratic Party of Japan’s Yukio Hatoyama was the highest ranked in 1999 with an income of 84.05 million yen. That figure includes 57.77 million yen from stock dividends and 5 million yen from miscellaneous sources, including compensation for TV appearances. Hatoyama, who hails from an elite family of politicians, is known as one of the wealthiest people in Tokyo’s Nagata-cho.
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, president of the LDP, earned 24.66 million yen — about the same as in 1998 — to rank seventh among the leaders of the nine main parties. Mori is expected to rank higher in next year’s report because his 2000 income will include his prime minister’s salary.
Tatsuo Ozawa of Kaikaku Club, a board member of many firms that earned top incomes two years ago, dropped to third with an income of 47.74 million yen, down from 51.71 million yen in 1998.
The report covers the incomes, assets and related business activities of 489 members of the formerly 500-member Lower House and 249 of the 252 Upper House members. It was made compulsory by a 1993 law enacted in response to incidents of money corruption involving Diet members, including the Recruit stock-for-favors scandal of the late 1980s.
It did not include those elected in by-elections or as runners-up last year. It also did not cover those who either died or resigned last year, because the law requires declarations only from legislators who had been Diet members for the full year.