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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 May 20 - 26  > Kurokawa’s resignation over illegal gambling exposes unjustness of Cabinet decision to extend his tenure as senior prosecutor
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2020 May 20 - 26 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Kurokawa’s resignation over illegal gambling exposes unjustness of Cabinet decision to extend his tenure as senior prosecutor

May 22, 2020

Superintending Prosecutor at the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office Kurokawa Hiromu on May 21 resigned from his post over a scandal in which he engaged in mahjong gambling with newspaper journalists during the nationwide state of emergency.

Kurokawa’s resignation, however, is incapable of putting an end to the issue of the Abe government’s move to meddle with prosecutors offices’ personnel affairs, including the Cabinet decision to allow Kurokawa, who is believed to be close to the Cabinet Office, to remain at his post beyond the mandatory retirement age.

Kurokawa, who played mahjong for money which is prohibited under criminal law, has no qualification to head the prosecutors office or to serve as prosecution officer. He deserves to be dismissed in disgrace. Nevertheless, disciplinary action taken by the Abe government against him was just the giving of a warning regarding the gambling. The Abe government should punish Kurokawa severely and take responsibility for the Cabinet decision to delay his retirement.

Public prosecutors have the power to investigate all crimes including cases committed by politicians who illegally used their political influence and bring them into court. That is exactly why prosecutors’ independence from political power should be guaranteed and arbitrary intervention in prosecutors’ actions by those in power should be eliminated.

The Public Prosecutors’ Office Act was established under the post-war Constitution based on lessons learned from history that in the prewar and wartime Japan, the judicial system under the Meiji Constitution failed to protect human rights as it enabled the Justice Minister to exercise command over judges, prosecutors, and lawyers.

The Abe Cabinet decision regarding the extension of Kurokawa’s tenure of office goes against the intention of the Constitution and of the law on prosecutors’ retirement ages. Furthermore, the Abe government retrofitted this decision with a bill to revise the law which allows the Cabinet at its discretion to intervene in the prosecution authority’s personnel affairs.

Facing mounting opposition from a wide range of people along with fierce Diet confrontations by opposition parties, the Abe government gave up on bulldozing through the bill in the current Diet session. However, as long as this controversial Cabinet decision exists, another case similar to Korokawa’s will appear again. The need is to prevent the Abe government from using Kurokawa’s resignation to distract public attention from this matter. It is also necessary to further press the Abe government to retract the Cabinet decision regarding Kurokawa’s retirement and withdraw its attempt to revise the Public Prosecutors’ Office Act.

Past related articles:
>Gov't gives up its plan to pass bill regarding top prosecutors' age of retirement during current Diet session [May 19, 2020]
>Abe Cabinet decision supposedly seeks to exert political influence over prosecution officers [
February 5, 2020]
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