National / Politics

Japan's lawmakers' average income unchanged in 2017 at ¥24 million

Kyodo

Lawmakers’ income averaged ¥24.12 million in 2017, unchanged from a year earlier, with the top three earning over ¥200 million each through stock sales, parliamentary data showed Monday.

While Lower House members did not receive salaries during the dissolution of the Diet and general election period last year, their average income remained unchanged due to increased gains from other business activities, such as lawyer or writer fees, as well as income from managing property.

Topping the list was Ichiro Aisawa, a 64-year-old House of Representatives member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who reported income of ¥711.93 million after selling shares in a company run by a relative and a property in Tokyo’s upscale Minami-Aoyama area.

The lawmaker secured about ¥325.64 million from the share sale and ¥254.73 million from the property sale, which his office said was used to pay inheritance tax levied in the wake of the death of his father, who was also a Lower House member, in 2016.

The second and third spots were taken by two junior LDP members of the House of Councilors — Taichiro Motoe and Kenji Nakanishi.

Lawyer-turned-politician Motoe reported income of ¥310.72 million in 2017, of which about ¥284.43 million came from capital gains on shares of a company managing a legal consultation service website.

Nakanishi’s income stood at ¥292.44 million, including about ¥207.90 million gained through the sale of shares he had owned since working at JP Morgan Securities Japan Co.

The data covered 377 members of the 465-seat Lower House and 241 members of the 242-seat Upper House who had seats in the Diet throughout 2017. Those who newly became Diet members or reclaimed a seat in the general election in October 2017 were not included.

Female lawmakers accounted for 83 of the 618 who reported their income. Former Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, a lawyer and LDP member of the Lower House, had the largest income among female lawmakers at ¥29.51 million.

Ahead of the LDP’s presidential election slated for September, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, who is likely to challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the party leadership, reported “miscellaneous income” — including fees for TV appearances and articles — of about ¥9.37 million, compared with Abe’s ¥730,000.