Ex-Justice Min. Kawai Drops Appeal over Vote-Buying Ruling


Tokyo, Oct. 21 (Jiji Press)--Former Japanese Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai on Thursday withdrew his appeal against a ruling that found him guilty of buying votes for his wife in a 2019 national election, his attorney said.

With the withdrawal, the district court verdict, in which the 58-year-old former House of Representatives lawmaker was sentenced to three years in prison without suspension and fined 1.3 million yen, has become final.

According to the attorney, Kawai, currently held at the Tokyo Detention House, decided on the move because his prison sentence was unlikely to be overturned on appeal. He also thought that his return to normal life would be delayed if he continued on with his trial, the attorney said.

"I have decided to serve my prison sentence as soon as possible," Kawai said in a statement released through the attorney. "I deeply apologize for causing trouble and concerns for many people."

Kawai is believed to be the first lawmaker with ministerial experience to have a jail sentence finalized since House of Councillors lawmaker Muneo Suzuki, former head of the now-defunct Hokkaido Development Agency, who served time for bribery and other charges under a jail sentence finalized in 2010.

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Jiji Press