Japan Lawmaker Kakizawa Questioned over Alleged Vote-Buying

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Mito Kakizawa

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese public prosecutors have questioned lawmaker Mito Kakizawa on a voluntary basis over vote-buying allegations related to a Tokyo mayoral election in April, informed sources said Saturday.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is believed to have asked Kakizawa why he gave cash to Koto Ward assembly members ahead of the ward’s mayoral election.

The 52-year-old member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Japan’s parliament, has left the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Prosecutors have already searched Kakizawa’s offices as well as the homes of him and his secretary, believing that he gave cash to round up votes for the mayoral race in violation of the public offices election law.

In the election, 58-year-old Yayoi Kimura backed by Kakizawa won the post of mayor. LDP members were split between Kimura and another candidate.

She later quit as mayor over paid online advertisements calling for votes for her in the election that were run based on advice from Kakizawa.

According to the sources, Kakizawa instructed a secretary around February to hand ¥200,000 in cash each to Koto assembly members of the LDP.

Last month, in a document for his supporters, Kakizawa admitted that his office gave ¥200,000 in cash each to three assembly members.

But he denied any vote-buying intentions, claiming that receipts have been issued with a description that the money was given to boost their morale for the Koto assembly election held on the same day as the mayoral poll.