Ministers Received Souvenirs from Kishida, Son

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Kishida’s eldest son, Shotaro, right,

Several Cabinet ministers said Tuesday that they had received souvenirs purchased by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s eldest son, Shotaro Kishida, while using a government car. The ministers included Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, and adds to reports that Shotaro used a government car for sightseeing during the prime minister’s visit to Europe and North America last month.

According to one of the ministers, the gifts were neckties and handkerchiefs.

At a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on Tuesday, Yuichi Goto, of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, asked Kishida whether the purchase of souvenirs by Shotaro, Kishida’s executive secretary, qualified as an official duty. Kishida replied, “Purchasing souvenirs for the prime minister can also be included in the normal duties of an executive secretary.”

Purchasing souvenirs during visits to foreign countries is “a common practice dictated by etiquette,” Matsuno asserted.

In October 2009, when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, Masako Okawara, currently a member of the CDPJ serving in the House of Representatives, wrote on her blog that she had received chocolates as a souvenir from then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama following his visit to the United States, attaching a photo of the gift.