Former Japanese Justice Minister jailed for buying votes

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by AFP

TOKYO – A former Japanese Justice Minister was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday for buying votes to allow his wife to be elected to national office, local media said.

Katsuyuki Kawai (Picture), 58, was found guilty of distributing 29 million yen ($ 260,000 at today’s prices) to about 100 people in 2019 to secure a seat in the House of Lords for his wife Anri, national broadcaster NHK said.

He was fined 1.3 million yen (US $ 11,800) on top of his jail term, local media added.

Tokyo District Court officials were unable to immediately confirm the reports.

Katsuyuki, a close confidante of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, had revised his earlier claims of innocence and largely admitted the allegations against him.

Anri, who won her seat in the July 2019 election, was already found guilty of her role in the program and given a 16-month suspended sentence earlier this year.

Katsuyuki’s sentence is not suspended, which means he faces jail time. But the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that he had appealed.

He was appointed Minister of Justice by Abe in 2019, but left after just a few weeks when the scandal surfaced.

The headquarters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are said to have backed Anri’s campaign with 150 million yen, an unusually large sum to stimulate campaigning efforts.



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