Lawmaker couple leave LDP amid alleged vote buying
NHK -- Jun 18
A Japanese lawmaker couple have left the main ruling Liberal Democratic Party as prosecutors appear set to launch a criminal investigation into their alleged vote buying.

Kawai Katsuyuki, a former justice minister and Lower House representative, and his wife Kawai Anri, an Upper House member, submitted departure notices to the LDP on Wednesday.

Prosecutors allege that the couple distributed cash to members of local assemblies in Hiroshima Prefecture, and asked to secure votes for Kawai Anri, who ran in the Upper House election in July last year.

The two lawmakers were saying they do not want to cause any more trouble for the party.

The LDP ethics committee decided to accept their notices.

As the current Diet session ended on Wednesday, prosecutors are expected to pursue the couple's criminal responsibility for alleged violation of the election law.

Sources say they deny doing anything illegal and have no intention of quitting as lawmakers.

Kawai Katsuyuki refrained from explaining about the allegation, citing the ongoing investigation after attending the Diet session on Wednesday. But he stressed that he has never engaged in illegal political activities in view of his conscience.

His wife Kawai Anri also declined to explain about the allegation. She said her lawyer told her not to.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide said at a news conference that he wants to refrain from commenting on individual cases. He added that he believes lawmakers, either ruling or opposition, have to be responsible for explaining their situation.

News source: NHK
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