Yoshito Sengoku, who was replaced as chief Cabinet secretary in Friday’s reshuffle, voiced frustration Monday with media reports portraying him as the power behind the throne in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.
“(The media) like to put a label on me. Why do they still call me “Shadow Prime Minister’?” he said on a lunchtime news show on TV Asahi Corp.
On the program, Sengoku said he was upset that during his time as spokesman for Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government, the media failed to report what he was trying to say even though he tried to communicate in a straightforward manner.
“The media have a plot. They just pick up comments that are convenient for them,” he said.
During last year’s budget committee sessions, Sengoku answered questions Kan was being peppered with by the opposition camp, including diplomatic issues pertaining to China and the Senkaku Islands.
Because Sengoku appeared to have some sort of influence over Kan, Japan’s mainstream media began portraying him as “another prime minister.”
On one occasion, a DPJ lawmaker even accidentally called Sengoku “prime minister” during an Upper House Budget Committee session last year.
Sengoku said he expected calmer discussions on politics, because both the media and Diet members tend to focus too much on fault-finding.
On Monday, Sengoku, who also doubled as justice minister for about 50 days after Minoru Yanagida of the DPJ resigned in November, passed on the portfolio to Satsuki Eda.
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