Japanese Leader Asō Talks Politics, Manga in Akihabara
posted on by Egan Loo
Tarō Asō, the self-acknowledged manga fan who became Prime Minister of Japan last month, made his first street speech in his new job at Tokyo's Akihabara otaku shopping district on Sunday. Unlike his famous first foray into Akihabara two years ago, Asō spent some time discussing national policy issues, such as the global economic downturn and a possible raise in minimum wage as a response. He also mentioned that he is too busy to keep up with his normal manga reading habit. While he read last week's issues of Shogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday and Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine, he had not read the latest issues of Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump and Kodansha's Morning magazines. In 2003, Asō told a newspaper that he read "about 10 to 20 [manga magazines] a week."
Asō spoke at Akihabara last year when he campaigned to replace former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. The eventual winner of that election, Yasuo Fukuda, himself resigned from office last month, and this led to Asō's elevation to the post. Asō's approval rating fell to 36 percent earlier this month.