Lawmaker Takeshi Tokuda has submitted his resignation from the House of Representatives on Monday after his family’s involvement in electoral fraud charges against members of the Tokushukai hospital group. This is also the same incident that led to the resignation of Tokyo governor Naoki Inose after it was found out that Tokuda’s father lent him money for his campaign.
The House of Representatives is expected to accept the resignation during the upcoming plenary session. If this is finalized before March 15, there will be a by-election for the single-seat No. 2 constituency in Kagoshima Prefecture. It will most likely be held on the last Sunday of April on the 27th. This will be the first parliamentary election since July 2013 when the House of Councillors elected their current lawmakers.
Even if Tokuda did not resign, he would have eventually been forced to do so because of the “guilt-by-association rules” of the public offices election law, if his sister, Michiyo Stern, will receive a prison sentence on charges of electoral fraud. She has already been indicted for giving the 155.6 million yen (approx. US$1.5 million) in cash or airline tickets to 594 employees of Tokushukai to recruit them for her brother’s campaign last December 2012. Their father, Torao Tokuda, is the founder of the hospital chain. Stern has already plead guilty to the charges against her and will most likely receive a prison term.
During his press conference, Tokuda apologized to the voters, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Tokushukai group for the inconvenience it has caused them. “I have to take responsibility,” he said, and added that it would not be good for the country if he stays in his position while his family members have pleaded guilty. His mother, Hideko, and another sister, Narumi Koshizawa, have also pleaded guilty earlier this month.
[ via Mainichi ]