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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 August 19 - 25  > JCP Koike: Money scandal-tainted lawmaker Akimoto should immediately step down
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2020 August 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

JCP Koike: Money scandal-tainted lawmaker Akimoto should immediately step down

August 25, 2020
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on August 24 at a press conference in the Diet building said that scandal-tainted Dietmember Akimoto Tsukasa should give up his seat without delay. Akimoto, who had been indicted for accepting bribes was last week arrested again for buying off a witness.

Akimoto served as the State Minister of the Cabinet Office and was in charge of promoting Integrated Resort projects centering on casinos. In December 2019, Akimoto was arrested for accepting bribes from a Chinese casino-related firm. Three months later, he was out on bail and was arrested again on August 20 for attempting to buy off a witness. He belonged to the Liberal Democratic Party until he left the party in the wake of his first arrest.

Koike said, “There is no excuse. Akimoto totally lacks moral qualification to remain a parliamentarian.” He stressed, “Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, who is the President of the LDP, endorsed Akimoto as an LDP candidate in the election and appointed him as a state minister for the Cabinet Office. Abe’s responsibility as the Prime Minister and LDP President should be called into question.”

In addition, Koike urged the government to stop pushing forward with casino projects in Japan. Akimoto’s scandals stemmed from the casino promotion policy, but the very idea of using casinos as a foreign tourist magnet is outdated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Koike pointed out that as casino venues are widely regarded as coronavirus hotbeds, casino operators across the world have suffered a heavy blow. He said, “The government should abandon its plan to promote casinos in Japan.”

Lawyer Okawa Takashi, who is a representative director of a citizens’ ombudsman group in Kanagawa Prefecture, noted that with the huge moneyed interests lying behind casino-centric resort projects, it was evident from the beginning that bribery scandals will inevitably occur. He said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if more money scandals involving politicians will occur one after another.”

Past related articles:
> Extra-ministerial casino bureau set up amid bribery scandal [January 8, 2020]
> University founder exploiting foreign students donates money to Abe Cabinet member [April 1, 2019]
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