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    Muneo Suzuki seeks lower house seat (not a joke!)

    My.

    sainted.

    aunt.

    Muneo Suzuki, a former Lower House member of the ruling party who is appealing a bribery conviction, on Thursday launched a new political party that he hopes will win him a seat in the Sept 11 election.

    Suzuki, 57, said his Sapporo-based Shinto daichi (New party, big land) was planning to win at least two Hokkaido seats in the election.

    He said the party, which was named by popular singer Chiharu Matsuyama-a long-time friend of Suzuki’s-to symbolize Hokkaido’s vast area, would stand for the socially disadvantaged.

    “I want the party to be one for the weak and those with no power,” Suzuki said. “Politics should work for those who are disadvantaged or regions that are underdeveloped.”

    The party is planning to come out guns blazing against bureaucratic intervention in politics. It will also campaign to secure Ainu rights as well as the construction of a pipeline to directly import natural gas and petroleum from Russia to the northern island.

    Muneo Suzuki was sentenced to two years in prison and millions of yen in fines for…well, I don’t think he was charged with breaking and entering, but just about everything else was in there: bribery, bid-rigging, perjury, and fraud among them. His idea of having politics work for “regions that are underdeveloped,” naturally, is funneling money into boondoggles that have no potential users. The best that can be said of him is that he was considered a scourge of bureaucrats, but you have to be scraping big old splinters from the bottom of the barrel to come up with that one.

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