Japan Former-Justice Minister And Wife Taken Into Custody for Vote-Buying Scandal
Japanese prosecutors earlier today arrested the country’s former justice minister — a close ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — and his lawmaker wife over allegations of vote-buying during her electoral campaign last in 2019.
The scandal is the latest headache for Abe, who has seen his approval ratings sink over his handling of the coronavirus crisis and faced criticism over alleged attempts to name a favoured candidate to the role of prosecutor general.
Katsuyuki Kawai resigned as justice minister in October after a separate scandal involving his wife Anri’s election campaign, and the pair is accused of offering local politicians and others money to help secure a seat in the upper house.
Kawai, 57, and his wife, 46, have both step down from Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, but reportedly plan to keep their seats in parliament.
They have reportedly rejected the allegations, which include claims the former minister distributed a total of 24 million yen ($225,000) yen to 91 people to help secure his wife’s seat, while the couple handed out 1.7 million yen to five campaigners.