Metropolitan Police Department Raids Tsubasa Party Office over Election Sabotage Suspicions

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Metropolitan Police Department investigators enter the head office of Tsubasa no To in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

The Metropolitan Police Department raided the head office of Tsubasa no To (Tsubasa Party) among other related locations Monday on suspicion of violating the Public Offices Election Law by obstructing freedom of election at the House of Representatives by-election in Tokyo Constituency No. 15 held in April.

The party’s candidate and his camp allegedly interfered with other candidates’ electoral activities repeatedly during the campaign. The MPD stepped up the investigation, deeming their acts highly malicious as the sabotage continued even after they were issued warnings under the law.

According to the investigators, party chief Atsuhiko Kurokawa, 45, Ryosuke Nemoto, 29 — the party’s candidate in the by-election — and a 39-year-old male campaigner are suspected of obstructing the freedom of the election. They are accused of screaming out over a loudspeaker at other candidates’ stump speeches to make it harder for the audience to listen, and chasing other candidates’ campaign cars around in their own cars during the campaign period of April 16-27.

The law’s Article 225, which stipulates the crime of obstruction of freedom of election, prohibits assaulting candidates and obstructing their speeches. Violations are punishable by up to four years in prison or a fine of up to ¥1,000,000.

During the campaign on April 18, the MPD summoned the three to a police station and issued a warning for suspected violations of Article 225, but they kept on sabotaging the election in the same manner.

Kurokawa on April 25 told reporters, “What we are doing is within the freedom of expression, election and political activities allowed by law,” and said he intended to launch the same activities when running for the Tokyo gubernatorial election in July.

About 10 MPD investigators entered the party’s head office in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, at around 11 a.m. on Monday. The police also raided Kurokawa’s home in Asaka, Saitama Prefecture, and the party’s office in Nerima Ward, Tokyo.

Tsubasa Party had been filming their activities throughout the campaign and distributing them on social media and video-sharing websites. The MPD believes that the party may have increased the number of views on their videos by posting extreme content.