• Crime & Courts

Prosecutors Admit Inappropriate Questioning in 2019 Vote-Buying Case

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Public Prosecutors Office building, which houses the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, is seen in Chiyoda, Ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office on Monday admitted inappropriate questioning in the 2019 vote-buying case involving former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai.

The top prosecutors office released a report on a probe into allegations of inappropriate questioning of a former member of the Hiroshima city assembly by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad over the case.

According to the former assembly member’s defense, a prosecutor induced him to admit to violating the public offices election law by suggesting that he could escape indictment or receive only a light penalty, although he denied the allegations against him.

In the report, the top prosecutors office said that the prosecutor did not promise that the former assembly member would escape indictment, but that it cannot be denied that the prosecutor raised the former assembly member’s expectations.

Meanwhile, another prosecutor was suspected of inducing the former assembly member to make statements in court in accordance with interrogation reports.

The top prosecutors office found that the second prosecutor did not commit an inappropriate act but should have been more careful.

In October this year, the Hiroshima District Court found the former assembly member guilty. The defendant appealed the ruling.

According to the ruling, the former assembly member received ¥300,000 in cash from former Justice Minister Kawai in April 2019, knowing that the money was compensation for working to help Kawai’s wife win a House of Councillors election.