Assembly member to quit over suspicion of forging fliers

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Fukuoka City Assembly Member Wakako Horimoto

FUKUOKA — A Fukuoka city assembly member is resigning over the creation and distribution of fliers related to a former Diet member. Wakako Horimoto, 41, who represents Hakata Ward and belongs to Nippon Ishin no Kai (the Japan Innovation Party), was questioned by police on suspicion of forging personal documents, it has been learned. She is scheduled to hold a press conference on the issue on Friday.

The fliers, written under the male Diet member’s name, included a photo of the man and said that he delivered a speech at a ceremony held by the Unification Church, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, in South Korea in 2019.

The fliers were posted to several houses in the ward in August.

The former Diet member has been considering running for the Hakata ward constituency in a city assembly race slated for next spring.

Horimoto admitted distributing the fliers and told the Yomiuri Shimbun she intends to resign from the assembly.

The former Diet member submitted a complaint to the Hakata police station in September after he suspected Horimoto’s involvement in the fliers, based on security camera footage that was obtained from the area.

The man was in the House of Representatives as a members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and is currently the Fukuoka branch manager of the Sanseito party.

The man admitted that he gave a speech at the ceremony, but said, “I’m annoyed because [the fliers] seem to give the impression that I have ties to the Unification Church despite the fact that I no longer have any relationship with it.”

“It was wrong to distribute such fliers. I’d like to apologize to the man and take responsibility,” Horimoto said.