The ruling Liberal Democratic Party approved the resignation from the party of House of Representatives member Takeshi Tokuda due to the current controversy involving his campaign and family. Six people close to him, including his two older sisters, were arrested on Tuesday for alleged election campaign fraud.
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and the Metropolitan Police Department are four senior officials of the Tokushukai hospital group and the two sisters of Tokuda of conspiring to provide monetary benefits for 563 campaigners who received a total of 147.5 million yen in rewards. This is in clear violation of the Public Offices Election Law which states campaign staff cannot receive benefits in general, particularly since the campaigners were employees of the hospitals. Tokuda’s father, Torao Tokuda, who is also the founder of Tokushukai, Japan’s largest hospital chain, is currently under investigation as the mastermind of the operation. Police are also looking into whether the lawmaker was in any way involved in the fraud, which was committed during the 2012 general election campaign. If his family members or campaign managers are found guilty of fraud, Tokuda can also lose his seat, as per the election law.
Tokuda submitted his resignation to the LDP on Tuesday after meeting with Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba. He will probably also be pressured to resign from his position in the parliament, even if the case is not yet finished. Tokuda was also a senior ministry secretary of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism until he resigned in February of this year because of a sex scandal, where he was accused of a 2004 rape of a then 19-year-old woman.
[ via Global Post ]
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