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Tabloid documents finance minister Tadahiro Matsushita’s affair with Kobe hostess

Shukan Shincho Sep. 20
Shukan Shincho Sep. 20

Last week, Tadahiro Matsushita, the Minister of the Financial Services Agency, committed suicide just prior to the publication of an article that appeared inside weekly tabloid Shukan Shincho (Sep. 20), which chronicled a 21-year extra-marital affair with a hostess working in Kobe.

Media reports say that the minister, 73, was discovered hanged at his Tokyo home on the 27th floor of an apartment building in Koto Ward by his wife on September 10 and taken to a local hospital, where he was confirmed dead. No signs of foul play have been found by police authorities. Matsushita wrote suicide notes to his wife, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, and members of the Cabinet.

Matsushita was a member of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s junior coalition partner, the People’s New Party, and served simultaneously as postal privatization minister.

Reiko Tokito, a 70-year-old hostess in the Sannomiya area of Kobe until she retired three years ago, reveals details of the pair’s clandestine meetings in hotels and phone-sex exchanges in an issue of the tabloid that hit the streets two days after the minister’s death.

After graduating from high school, Tokito moved from her home in Kagohima Prefecture to a number of locations for short-term stays in the Kansai area before finding satisfactory employment at a “snack” club in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture.

She would eventually switch to the hostess club Shinsekai, the biggest in Kobe. In one year, she worked dutifully, taking only one week off, and reached the top of the club’s hostess roster. Then, in 1980, she opened her own club, Lumiere, located in the Sannomiya district, where she served as the establishment’s mama-san.

In January of 1991, Matsushita, a native of the city of Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, came to her club through an introduction from a common friend, whose motivation was the fact that they both hail from the same prefecture. At the time, Matsushita was married and a member of what is now known as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, where he served as the director-general of the Erosion and Sediment Control Department.

The pair later ate breakfast together at a restaurant at his hotel. He gave her a box of sweets from Tokyo; she in turn passed on a book.

In October, the couple became intimate for the first time at the Hotel New Otani Tokyo. They would then meet two more times — once at the Oriental Hotel in Kanocho, Kobe and another time at an apartment in the same city — before Matsushita would pen a love letter, dated October 29, to Tokito on letterhead from the Ministry. “I remember your white skin as you lost consciousness into a deep sleep,” he wrote of their second overnight rendezvous.

The following June, Matsushita retired from the Ministry. In 1993, while running on the Liberal Democratic Party ticket, he was victorious in his bid to become a Lower House member of what was then the Kagoshima No. 2 district. He served four terms up until 2003.

Their relationship continued: In Kobe, she would go home after work, change clothes, and join him at the Shin Kobe Oriental Hotel; the Hotel New Otani Tokyo was the venue of choice for meetings in the capital. She describes his sex as “violent,” but chalked it up to being a matter of style.

The pair met approximately two or three times a year. After each encounter, a “cosmetics allowance” of between 50,000 and 100,000 yen (with the maximum being 300,000 yen) was provided by Matsushita.

There were no conventional dates, just meetings for sex. “I knew my social status as a hostess. I also knew his position. I never dreamed that we would, for example, go shopping together during those 21 years. We only went to a coffee shop once,” she says, referring to their first one-on-one meeting at his hotel in Kobe.

In 2005, Matsushita ran and lost as an independent candidate in the 2005 Lower House election, in which he opposed then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s postal privatization policy. Four years later, as a People’s New Party member, he once again gained a seat in the Lower House.

Around this time, Tokito quit resigned from the hostess world and bought a house in Kagoshima. With him being busy, simulated sex on the phone became a normal activity. She estimates that they made more than 20 such calls, with one noteworthy request for such a session arriving on March 30, 2011 at midnight, a time when Matsushita was dealing with duties related to the unfolding Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed Great East Japan Earthquake.

The beginning of the end took place in March and June of 2010, when Matsushita visited Kagoshima without informing her. She learned of the visits through television and newspaper reports. As a result, she began to doubt whether he had any true feelings for her.

When in 2011 she questioned him by telephone about the visits to Kagoshima, he hung up. After that incident, there was no communication between the two for six months.

Last October, she sent a letter, in which she cited emotional damage, to him through a lawyer. They then exchanged a number of emails. She wanted compensation for her time; he demanded to know a price.

On May 26, they met at a Kagoshima restaurant. “He spoke in a loud voice, saying that my demand is something a gangster would do and added that I need to be careful,” she says of their two-hour conversation. “He said he knew of another politician who paid nine million yen to solve a similar situation.”

Matsushita handed her an envelop with 800,000 yen inside. “I am holding a loan,” he said, implying that no further money was possible.

Nine days later, Matsushita took over as financial services minister as a part of reshuffling of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. “He said that after he finished some serious work, he would pay me 10 million yen,” Tokito says. “But I didn’t want to take money from such a person.”

Tokito says that Matsushita is a man of two faces. She cited wanting to expose this fact as her motivation for going public. “I really want everyone to know that he has an outward and hidden character,” she says.

Source: “73 sai Matsushita Tadahiro kinyutantodaijin chido hate naki denwa to kebo,” Shukan Shincho (Sep. 20, pages 46-49)