Panel Seeks to Indict 35 People over 2019 Japan Election

Society

Tokyo, Jan. 28 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese panel of citizens said Friday it has ruled that 35 people, including Hiroshima prefectural assembly members, should be indicted for receiving money in a high-profile vote-buying scandal involving the 2019 House of Councillors election.

Including the 35, a total of 100 people were accused of taking bribes in connection with the Upper House poll in the western prefecture in violation of the public offices election law, but the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office last year decided not to indict them.

In the ruling dated Dec. 23 last year, the Tokyo No. 6 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution said that 35 of the 100 people deserved indictment, contrary to the prosecutors' decision. The prosecutors' decision not to indict was "unjust" for 46 others and "just" for the remaining 19 people, the committee said.

The committee said those who received more than 100,000 yen in bribes and did not return the money or leave public office should be indicted, given the heavy responsibility they shoulder and the level of malice. Others should also be indicted if they received large amounts of money, the committee said.

It said that the prosecutors' decision not to indict such people could give an impression that receiving bribes in elections does not amount to serious law violation.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press