Japanese lawmaker Kakizawa under investigation for alleged vote-buying

In a development that has sent shockwaves through the political landscape, Mito Kakizawa, a member of the House of Representatives in Japan, has been questioned by public prosecutors on a voluntary basis over allegations of vote-buying. This pertains to the Tokyo mayoral election held in April, as per informed sources on Saturday.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has reportedly inquired into the circumstances that led Kakizawa to provide cash to Koto Ward assembly members ahead of the ward’s mayoral election. This move is a part of the investigation into potential violations of the public offices election law.

At 52 years of age, Kakizawa has made headlines not just for his political position but also for deciding to depart from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The reasons for his departure have not been explicitly stated, but speculation centers around the ongoing vote-buying allegations against him.

Prosecutors have taken significant steps in this investigation by conducting searches in Kakizawa’s offices and homes, as well as his secretary’s residence. It is alleged that the cash was offered to secure votes for the mayoral race in defiance of the law.

During the election period, a notable incident emerged when 58-year-old Yayoi Kimura, who was backed by Kakizawa, was successful in securing the mayoral position. This occurred despite the LDP experiencing a divided stance with members supporting both Kimura and another candidate.

However, Kimura’s tenure as mayor was short-lived as she opted to resign from the position due to the presence of paid online advertisements that called for votes in the election, which were based on guidance from Kakizawa.

Sources further detail that Kakizawa reportedly instructed a secretary to provide ¥200,000 in cash to each Koto assembly member of the LDP starting from February. This particular revelation has been corroborated by Kakizawa himself in a document addressed to his supporters, where he admitted to the cash disbursements.

However, he maintains that there were no intentions of vote-buying behind this action. Kakizawa claims that receipts were issued, clearly stating that the money was given to boost the morale of the assembly members for the Koto assembly election held on the same day as the mayoral poll.

With these allegations and the ongoing investigation receiving extensive media coverage, it remains to be seen how this situation will unfold and what ramifications it may have on the political sphere in Japan. The public awaits further developments in this high-profile case.

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