What is the quickest, most common way to become a politician in Japan? Be born into a political family and have lots of money to spread around.

Simple statistics back this up. About one third of the 353 lawmakers in the Liberal Democratic Party are either the offspring or grandchildren of former Diet members, and most of them have money and strong support groups.

Yukio Edano, however, policy chief of the Democratic Party of Japan, was not born into a political family and he got in on the cheap, relatively speaking.