Japanese Finance Minister Shochi Nakagawa resigned today following allegations that he was drunk at a G-7 press conference discussing the state of world economy.
Nakagawa now claims he wasn’t drunk but had mixed cold medicine and alcohol with regrettable results. Speaking soberly at a press conference in Japan today, Nakagawa said was falling on his sword: “To take responsibility for the trouble I caused.”
Did Shochi hit the sauce? You be the judge in the video below:
What are the lessons from this….beyond the obvious: “Don’t drink and drive home your points”?
Before every media appearance — senior officials (no matter how high up in government) ought to have a prep session with a trusted member of their staff. If time permits — they should have a full blown role-playing Q&A…known as a “murder board” in the trade. But even if a press conference has been scheduled immediately following a major meeting and there is no time for a murder board, it is essential that someone on the official’s staff take a moment to pull them aside and make sure that their tie is straight, that there are no remnants from their last meal on their shirt or face, and to ask a few questions to make sure that the official is ready to meet the press.
It would have taken a huge amount of guts for some Finance Ministry staffer to tell Nakagawa: “Boss, you’ve had a few too many sips of sake — let’s call in sick for this press conference.” But if Nakagawa had the foresight to have such a brave person on his staff — he would not be about to join the ranks of the unemployed.