During the news conference announcing his retirement, Shimada said he hadn’t considered Watanabe a gangster and continued exchanges with him via phone and email.

Although that doesn’t violate any laws and Shimada didn’t have any business relationship with the gangster, he offered to immediately retire to take responsibility, the agency said.

“I did not feel that I was doing something wrong. To me (the relationship) was ‘safe,’ but I learned the day before yesterday that it was ‘out,’ ” Shimada said, using baseball terminology.

The agency issued a statement saying “this kind of act is not allowed for any reason for a person who appears in mass media such as TV, which has a strong influence on society.”

via Yakuza link undoes TV’s Shimada | The Japan Times Online.

A Japanese expression “ashi wo hipparu” comes to mind. In Japanese, it doesn’t mean “I’m joking”.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL7vEtq0ASw’]

Ludwig von Mises wrote in 1956 about what has since been called the politics of envy:

If a man’s station in life iss conditioned by factors other than his inherent excellence, those who remain at the bottom of the ladder can acquiesce in this out-come and, knowing their own worth, still preserve their dignity and self-respect. But it is different if merit alone decides. Then the unsuccessful feel themselves insulted and humiliated. Hate and enmity against all those who superseded them must result.*

(* Möser, No Promotion According to Merit, first published 1772. (Justus Möser’s Sämmtliche Werke, ed. B. R. Abeken, Berlin, 1842, Vol. II, pp. 187–191. Quote by Mises in chapter 1, section 4, of The Anti-Capitalist Mentality, available free online on the Mises.org website and also as a free PDF download here.)