Quick Trial Eyed over Election Fraud for Guilt-by-Association


Tokyo, March 20 (Jiji Press)--Japanese prosecutors are set to indict soon a secretary to lawmaker Anri Kawai and two others for their alleged violation of an election law while considering requesting a court to conclude their trials and issue rulings early with the possibility of applying for the guilt-by-association system in mind, it was learned Friday.

Under the guilt-by-association system, stipulated in the public offices election law, a candidate's winning of an election will be invalidated if his or her secretary or a key election campaign organizer is convicted in a serious law violation case, such as vote-buying, even if the candidate was not involved in the misconduct.

The Hiroshima District Public Prosecutors Office plans to apply for the quick trial procedures under a provision of the law with Hiroshima District Court, sources familiar with the matter said.

The suspects to be indicted soon by the prosecutors office in Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan, include Hiroshi Tatemichi, 54, a government-paid secretary to Kawai, and Shinsuke Takaya, 43, a policy secretary to Kawai's husband, Katsuyuki. Anri, 46, is a lawmaker of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, while Katsuyuki, 57, former justice minister, is a member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber, with both belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The prosecutors office arrested the three people on March 3 on suspicion of paying 14 staff women of Anri's campaign team more than the legal limit of 15,000 yen per day during the Upper House election in July 2019 in violation of the election law. A total of 2.04 million yen was paid to the staff members. Anri won an Upper House seat for the first time in the poll.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press