Secretary to LDP's Anri Kawai Refuses to Enter Plea
Hiroshima, April 20 (Jiji Press)--A state-paid secretary to Japanese ruling party lawmaker Anri Kawai refused to enter a plea on Monday for his alleged election law violation during Kawai's campaign for the House of Councillors poll last summer.
At the first hearing at Hiroshima District Court, the defense for Hiroshi Tatemichi, 54, said that the defense team will claim his innocence or admit his guilt at the next hearing.
The Hiroshima District Public Prosecutors Office aims to apply a guilt-by-association system to nullify Kawai's win in the July 21, 2019, election for the upper chamber of the Diet. The Liberal Democratic Party member won her first Diet seat in the election, running in the poll from the constituency of Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan.
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.
According to the indictment, Tatemichi violated the law by paying 14 campaign workers for Kawai in the Upper House election more than the legal limit of 15,000 yen per person per day between around July 19 and 23. A total of 2.04 million yen is believed to be have been paid to them at six places, including Kawai's campaign office.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]