Lawmaker Anri Kawai Found Guilty over Campaign Scandal
Tokyo, Jan. 21 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo District Court on Thursday sentenced Japanese lawmaker Anri Kawai to 16 months in prison, suspended for five years, for violating the public offices election law during her campaign in 2019.
The 47-year-old House of Councillors member was found guilty to handing 1.6 million yen in cash to four Hiroshima prefectural assembly members between March and May 2019 to buy votes for the July Upper House election.
Presiding Judge Yasuaki Takahashi said that her act "impaired the fairness of an election." He ruled that Kawai acted in conspiracy with her 57-year-old husband, Katsuyuki, a House of Representatives member and former justice minister.
Takahashi rejected the Anri side's claim that the money was intended to support the campaigning by the prefectural assembly members and celebrate their elections. The judge also dismissed the claim that there was no conspiracy between the couple.
If the sentence is finalized, Anri, a former member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, will lose her Upper House seat. "It's regrettable that my claim was only partly accepted," she said in a statement. She was elected from the Hiroshima prefectural constituency.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]