TOKYO (TR) – A report appearing in a weekly magazine suggests that newly appointed cabinet minister Tsuyoshi Takagi has a long history as an underwear thief.
The new reconstruction minister, appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week, has during each election over the past two decades been marred with rumors, says a report appearing in Shukan Shincho (Oct. 22), which hit newsstands on Thursday.
Around each election, objectionable literature surfaces in his home district in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, accusing the politician of nicking knickers during his formative years.
One pamphlet in 1996 asked, “Why has the Liberal Democratic Party chosen habitual panty thief Tsuyoshi Takagi as its official candidate?” Another, in 2012, titled “The embarrassment of Tsuruga,” slammed the politician again.
As a result, the magazine describes the career of Takagi, who is in his sixth term, as being “a little eccentric.”
Yukan Fuji (Oct. 15) reports that Takagi’s office denies the claims. “This is nothing but a persistent false rumor spread by opposition forces,” a representative told the newspaper.
The problems began for Takagi around 30 years ago, when somebody broke into a Tsuruga house and stole a woman’s underwear. A car with the politician’s number plate was spotted near the scene of the crime and his fingerprints were found in the house.
Prosecutors, however, could not build a case against Takagi, whose father was serving as mayor of the city at the time.Since then, the literature has continued to spread the rumors about the new minister. One prankster went as far as to put a pair of knickers on the head of a bronze statue of Takagi’s father.
“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may well be opening a Pandora’s Box by going with Takagi,” according to Shincho.