Muneo Suzuki rebounds from cancer, 2010 bribes conviction to win seat in Upper House
Japan Times -- Jul 23
Muneo Suzuki, a veteran politician with close ties to Russia, won a seat in Sunday’s House of Councilors election, returning to the Diet for the first time since being forced out by a conviction in 2010.

The leader of New Party Daichi, a political group active mainly in Hokkaido, vowed at his office in Sapporo to work on resolving the prolonged dispute over the Russian-held isles off Hokkaido claimed by Japan.

He is still seen as influential in Japanese-Russian affairs, often meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the territorial dispute, which stems from the war.

“My heart is too full for words,” Suzuki, 71, said. “During campaigning, I felt people were counting on me to resolve the territorial issue.”

“I will break a sweat to resolve the issue as early as possible,” he said as he celebrated in tears with his daughter and Lower House member Takako Suzuki of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Suzuki ran on the proportional representation list of Nippon Ishin no Kai, an Osaka-based group that is trying to expand its base beyond the Kansai region. He ran despite having surgery for esophagus cancer in May.

On July 14, he posted on Twitter a photo of himself campaigning in Tokyo with American action movie star Steven Seagal.

Suzuki, who used to wield considerable power in the territorial talks, lost his Lower House seat in September 2010 his conviction for bribery and other offenses was finalized. His right to run or vote in elections was suspended until April 2017.

He ran in the Lower House election on New Party Daichi’s ticket in October 2017 but failed to win a seat.

News source: Japan Times
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