Japan: A Scandal by Any Name

A Scandal by Any Name

In Japan's chronic influence-peddling scandals, only some of the names seem to change. Last week another probe into the governing Liberal Democratic Party's pervasive cronyism ended in the arrest of Fumio Abe, one of Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa's most senior political allies and a party stalwart. He was seized on suspicion of having illegally pocketed more than $540,000 from the Kyowa Corp. for helping the steel-frame maker win lucrative contracts.

The Prime Minister called the arrest, the first of an incumbent Diet member since the Lockheed bribery scandal of the 1970s, "regrettable indeed." For Miyazawa, whose government recently suffered legislative setbacks,...

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