Running for election in Japan isn’t easy. But when your face is shown alongside titles like “pervert” and “molester,” it’s probably a lot harder than it ought to be.
Japan’s political system is a mess right now and, despite having seen six prime ministers come and go in as many years, the country is headed for an election next month, with one-time PM Shinzo Abe putting himself forward to be re-elected.
The politician was made a laughing-stock earlier this week, however, when the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) early morning TV show “Asazuba” accidentally displayed Abe’s photo alongside a news report about an NHK announcer’s arrest for a sex offense.
Despite having no relation to the incident whatsoever, Abe’s face filled viewers’ screens along with the name of NHK announcer Takeshige Morimoto, who anchors NHK’s “Ohayo Nippon” program on Saturday and Sunday. Morimoto was arrested for allegedly groping a woman on the train.
Suffice to say, the politician was not pleased, and, suspecting this to be part of a “campaign of negativity”, took to his public Facebook page to tear TBS a new one.
“This morning on the TBS show ‘Asazuba,’ when a newscaster reported on a story regarding the apprehension of a molester, a photo of me was shown. Images of this blunder can now be seen clearly across the Internet,” a red-faced Abe wrote. “Have the slander campaigns already begun!? If this were merely an accident, it would be proper for the TV station to give me a personal apology, but as of yet I haven’t heard a single word.”
As Abe points out later in his statement, during the broadcast, the newscaster acknowledged that the incorrect image had been displayed, but merely stated that the photo was “unrelated” and did not refer to the politician by name. As yet neither Abe nor his office have received any form of apology for the potentially campaign-damaging blunder, and have been left with a bunch of photos circulating the internet showing the man’s face next to the word “pervert.” Hardly the best start to a campaign.