Lawmaker resigns from LDP over visit to luxurious nightlife venue

Japan Times -- Feb 17
Another ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker quit the party Wednesday following a report that he visited a luxurious Tokyo nightlife venue despite government calls to avoid unnecessary outings under a state of emergency to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Lower House member Takaki Shirasuka, 45, apologized at a news conference for his recent stay in the members-only lounge until late at night. The visit came after three fellow party members left the LDP earlier this month following public anger over their visits to Ginza hostess bars.

The latest development reported by the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun is set to deal a further blow to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's administration, which has been criticized for its handling of the pandemic.

"I apologize from the bottom of my heart for visiting the venue while the state of emergency is in place," Shirasuka told reporters. He also said he will not run in the next House of Representatives election, which must be held by October.

Shirasuka, who was accompanied by a woman, stayed at a French restaurant in Tokyo's Akasaka area on the evening of Feb. 10 for two hours until around 8:20 p.m., Shukan Bunshun reported on its website Wednesday.

He then moved to the lounge in the capital's Azabujuban district by taxi and stayed there between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., according to the report.

- Japan Times