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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 June 2 - 8  > Ex-METI minister under investigation over his vote-buying scandal resigns as lawmaker
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2021 June 2 - 8 [POLITICS]

Ex-METI minister under investigation over his vote-buying scandal resigns as lawmaker

June 2, 2021

Former Economy, Trade and Industry Minister and Liberal Democratic Party member of the House of Representatives Sugawara Isshu, who is facing public prosecutors’ renewed investigation into his vote-buying scandal, on June 1 announced that he will resign both from the Diet and the LDP.

Sugawara, who has close relations with Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, in September 2019 became the trade minister of the Abe Cabinet with a strong push by Suga. However, within 40 days, he stepped down from his position over an allegation that he delivered cash and gifts to supporters in his constituency in violation of the Public Offices Election Act.

After investigating the case, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office in June 2020 decided not to indict Sugawara. However, in February 2021, the Tokyo No. 4 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution overturned the prosecutors office’s decision and concluded that the ex-METI chief should be prosecuted for vote-buying, which initiated a reinvestigation by the special investigation unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office.

Following Sugawara’s resignation announcement, Japanese Communist Party Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji at a press conference in the Diet building said, “Sugawara should fulfil his accountability by providing sufficient explanation to the general public as well as to the Diet. PM Suga and his predecessor Abe should also bear grave responsibility for choosing Sugawara to be a Cabinet member.”

Past related article:
> METI Minister just one month after taking office resigns over money scandal [October 26, 2019]
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