Japan’s Aso Labels Brokerage Workers as ‘Shady Types’, Jiji Says

  • Remarks are latest in long list of gaffes by Finance Minister
  • Classmates who joined brokerages basically ran scams, says Aso

In the latest of a long series of gaffes, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso has hit out at brokerage workers -- a profession he’s responsible for overseeing.

“People have a preconception that investing in bonds and stocks is dangerous, and that’s correct,” Aso said at a forum on Tuesday in Tokyo, according to a report from the Jiji news service. “Most of my classmates who worked for security firms were extremely shady types.”

Half a century ago, all students knew that real estate and brokerages were dodgy, he was reported as saying, adding that classmates who went into securities companies were doing what "basically amounts to a scam, or pretty close to it.”

The remarks add to a long list of verbal blunders by Aso, 75, who is deputy prime minister, finance minister and also financial services minister. In 2009, while he was prime minister, he said stock trading was considered dodgy in regional Japan and that the financial sector wasn’t trusted.

In June this year, he wondered aloud how long a 90-year old pensioner intended to keep living, according to a report from Kyodo.

In 2013, he said that the the medical system shouldn’t use resources to extend the lives of elderly people, before clarifying to say that he was talking about himself. The same year he also said that the government could learn from the Nazis on ways to change the constitution.