Episode 326 – The Lockheed Scandal, Part 1

This week, we take a look at one of postwar Japan’s most famous political scandals, and how the efforts of one company to revive its fortunes ended up roping in everyone from shadowy underworld figures to the Prime Minister of Japan himself.

Sources

Here’s the New York Times interview with Kotchian I quoted.

“Annals of Crime – The Lockheed Incident.” The New Yorker, January 23, 1978.

Baerwald, Hans H. “Lockheed and Japanese Politics.” Asian Survey 16 No 9 (Sept, 1976).

Carlson, Matthew M. and Steven R. Reed, Political Corruption and Scandals in Japan.

Blaker, Michael. “Japan 1976: The Year of Lockheed.” Asian Survey 17, No. 1 (Jan, 1977).

Images

Carl Kotchian in the 1960s, holding a model of the L1011 Tristar (the same plane he would sell to ANA).
A Lockheed L-1011 Tristar in ANA colors; thanks to Kotchian’s “sales commissions” ANA would buy 21 such planes to the tune of 105 million USD (unadjusted).
Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei meets with Richard Nixon in 1973. This photo is from after the negotiations in the Fall of 1972 when Tanaka agreed to buy more goods from the USA — one way he met that agreement was by pressuring ANA to buy Lockheed planes.
TOKYO, JAPAN – FEBRUARY 16: All Nippon Airways President Tokuji Wakasa is summoned at a Lower House Budget Committee over the Lockheed bribery scandal on February 16, 1976 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
A Lockheed L1011.

 

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