Episode 327 – The Lockheed Scandal, Part 2

This week: what happens once the scandal goes public, and what does all this say about postwar Japan more generally?


“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).


Tanaka Kakuei upon being arrested.
Maeno Mitsuyasu actually posed for a photo before his attack on Kodama Yoshio’s home.
This should give you a sense of the scope of damage done by Maeno’s attack.
With police watching, demonstrators carrying banners march through street late 3/8 toward the Diet Buildings in protest against the Lockheed payoff scandal. Tokyo, Japan. From AboutJapan.com
Tanaka Kakuei in tears during his return home in 1989 after he finally resigned from the Diet (due largely to ill health, not the scandal).


2 thoughts on “Episode 327 – The Lockheed Scandal, Part 2”

  1. Man, screw Tanaka Kakuei! At least this scandal was easy to follow since it was just graft and bribery. I wish I could be so heartless and delusional that I could legitimately believe that bribery was just “gifts” and “the cost of doing business.”
    We’ve got a lot of problems in America, but these episodes about high politics in Japan make me realize how good we have it here. Even our two party system is better than Japan’s de facto uniparty system. I flip back and forth between whether the Founders saw parliamentary politics for what it was and gave us a good answer to it and whether parliamentary representative democracy is the way to go. These modern episodes always make me lean towards the former. We have it pretty good here.

    1. It is definitely a system that does not work very well without very stringent anticorruption laws; Japan’s have definitely improved since Tanaka Kakuei, but arguably not by as much as they should. But yes, in the 1970s this was clearly a system that made it WAY too easy to finagle things behind closed doors.

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