Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 January 20 - 26  > PM Suga should not doge responsibility for vote-buying case involving ex-Justice Minister and his wife
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2021 January 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

PM Suga should not doge responsibility for vote-buying case involving ex-Justice Minister and his wife

January 25, 2021
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Tokyo District Court on January 21 sentenced House of Councilors member Kawai Anri (former Liberal Democratic Party member) to 16 months in prison, with a 5-year reprieve, for vote-buying in the July 2019 House of Councilors election in violation of the Public Offices Election law. If the sentence is finalized, she will lose her parliamentary seat. In the vote-buying case, her husband, ex-Justice Minister Kawai Katsuyuki, who is a former LDP member of the House of Representatives, was also sent for trial. In the Upper House election campaign, the LDP Headquarters gave Kawai Katsuyuki and Anri substantial funding. In addition, the former PM Abe-led administration exercised political leverage for them, which should also be thoroughly investigated. In the election campaign, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, who was the Chief Cabinet Secretary at that time, worked aggressively for Anri’s victory. It is unacceptable for him to evade his responsibility.

In the vote-buying case, it was revealed that seeking to win Anri’s Upper House seat in the Hiroshima constituency, the Kawais distributed a total of 20 million yen to 100 influential people in the electoral district, such as local assembly persons and local municipal heads, and asked them to round up as many votes as possible.

The act of purchasing votes is heinous. Kawai Katsuyuki and Anri, who show no sign of remorse over the use of bribes to influence the election, are not qualified to be Dietmembers. Without waiting for the results of their trials, they should convey all the facts behind the scandal before the public, including testifying in the Diet and then should resign as lawmakers immediately.

Kawai Anri was put up as a candidate for the Upper House race reportedly under the strong initiative of ex-PM Abe, ignoring the local LDP organization’s opinion. As funds for running in the election, the Kawais received as much as 150 million yen in cash from LDP Headquarters. The LDP used the tax-funded state subsidy granted to the party to assist in the election. It is the LDP’s responsibility to explain to the general public as to whether or not the money was used to buy votes.

During the election campaign, Abe and Suga visited Hiroshima to increase support for Kawai Anri. In this regard, to dig out the whole truth behind the close ties between the Kawais and the former Abe government’s mainstay is essential. After Kawai Anri was convicted of vote-buying, PM Suga just said, “It is important for politicians to shape up,” showing a completely unconcerned stance regarding his responsibility. Regarding the distribution of massive funds from the LDP Headquarters to the Kawais, Suga intended to evade his responsibility by saying that the money was distributed through prescribed procedures. It is unacceptable for PM Suga to adopt such an irresponsible and dishonest attitude.

The urgent need now is to eliminate money-tainted politics and establish a new direction in politics which will earn the public trust.

Past related article:
> 2 sitting Dietmembers arrested for vote buying [June 19, 2020]

> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved