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TOKYO – A video of politician Ryutaro Nonomura‘s rambling, tearful and melodramatic apology for spending $30,000 (?3.01 million) of taxpayers’ money to visit hot spring resorts 195 times has become a viral hit, with online commenters predictably merciless in their assessment of his histrionics.
Nonomura, a 47-year-old Hyogo Prefecture assemblyman, has admitted to making 195 trips to four hot spring resorts, without even producing receipts for his jaunts. A three-hour press conference on July 1 saw Nonomura questioned by the media on his responsibility to taxpayers and who he met on the trips. After declining to say who he was meeting, on the grounds he had promised the person anonymity, his responses and behavior became increasingly bizarre.
The politician, elected in 2011, claimed he was unable to recall the train route to one of the hot springs, despite reporting that he had made no fewer than 106 visits to the resort.
Apparently feeling the pressure, Nonomura then resorted to an impassioned, if semi-coherent, explanation of his motives for entering political life.
Complete with tears, punctuated by periodic wailing and waving his arms around in a most un-Japanese way, Nonomura explained, “Whoever you voted for, it was always the same … I decided to become a political candidate … this Japan … this Japan … I just wanted to change the world … the aging of society … it’s not just a problem of our prefecture … it’s a problem for the Japanese people … I’ve staked my life … you just don’t understand, do you?”
After being shown on news and variety shows, one posting of the video on YouTube had gotten nearly two million hits by Thursday afternoon. Reaction to Nonomura’s melodrama has not been kind, with commenters more than a little suspicious of the authenticity of his emotions, and unimpressed with his demeanor.
“That is such fake crying,” wrote apo.ringo.
“Has he taken his diapers off? Ahhh, it’s milk time,” commented Shingo Miyamoto.
“This guy is too funny, him being a politician is kind of a waste,” posted nestalfant1.
“He’s funny! Funny, but an embarrassment to Japan, won’t he stop!” pleaded Arkunciel.
“Is this guy Japanese?” wondered Ryan44691.
“Calm down a little. We understand, it’s been tough for you,” consoled Kou Suzuki.
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