National lawmakers who regularly appear on television to give their opinions on various matters saw their miscellaneous income jump in 2002, according to income data released Monday by the Diet.

Last year’s sundry income for Katsuei Hirasawa, a senior House of Representatives member of a nonpartisan parliamentarian group calling for the return of all Japanese abducted by North Korea, was 10.8 million yen, up from 2.44 million yen in 2001.

The money boosted the Liberal Democratic Party member to fifth place in the miscellaneous income ranking.

Since September, when North Korea admitted it abducted or lured 13 Japanese to the country in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hirasawa appeared numerous times on TV, gave speeches at various gatherings and published a book on North Korean issues.

The LDP’s Yoshimi Watanabe, who has been vocal on financial and administrative reform issues, earned 8.32 million yen, while Nobuteru Ishihara, state minister in charge of administrative and regulatory reforms, received 6.86 million yen for 2002.

Although the sundry income for Watanabe and Ishihara dropped from the previous year, hot reform issues like the planned privatization of four public road corporations kept the Lower House LDP members comfortably in the top 10 ranking, at sixth and seventh, respectively.

Kensho Sasaki of the Japanese Communist Party saw his miscellaneous earnings soar from 70,000 yen in 2001 to 1.18 million yen last year thanks to more than 50 TV appearances over scandals involving embattled fellow Lower House parliamentarian Muneo Suzuki.

The miscellaneous income for Kazuhiro Haraguchi of the Democratic Party of Japan increased almost 10-fold to 1.66 million yen, also due to a sharp rise in television appearances to air his views, often critical of the LDP-led ruling coalition.

His office said Haraguchi receives about 30,000 yen for each TV appearance, noting that the propaganda value is worth more than the money.

Topping the ranking for miscellaneous income in 2002 was Kiyoshi Nishikawa, an independent House of Councilors member and former comedian, at 23.21 million yen.

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