Power harassment of council members and city employees, intervention in city affairs, and association with antisocial forces–these are just a few of the allegations that have been made in a series of eye-opening documents.
A number of eye-watering and suspicious documents are flying around for council members belonging to the Osaka Restoration Association. These are against Kaoru Nishida, 56, a member of the Osaka Restoration Association and a five-time elected official of Moriguchi City, Osaka Prefecture.
Nishida is said to be one of the top candidates for the next speaker of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly. Aiming to advance to national politics, which has been his long-cherished wish, he won a preliminary election within the Restoration Party for the Osaka 6th Constituency in the House of Representatives and has been unofficially selected as a candidate. He has a strong ambition to move up, and he was also aiming for the seat in the prefectural assembly representative race this spring when Osamu Sasakawa, a prefectural assembly member who left the party over a power harassment scandal, was elected, and was working until the last minute to gather supporters. On the other hand, I have heard from the prefectural assembly members that the power harassment in Moriguchi, their hometown, seems to be terrible,” said a member of the Japan Restoration Association.
In the September 8 issue of FRIDAY, we reported in detail on the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, when Nishida, along with four other Moriguchi city council members, appeared as witnesses before the Hyakujo Committee for power harassment of city employees, and the lamentations of a former employee. However, when we interviewed more than 15 people, not only the employees, but also Moriguchi city government officials, city council members, the Ishin no Kai and his former supporters and office staff, what came to light were numerous allegations of power harassment.
Mr. A, who was originally a city councilor belonging to the Moriguchi branch of the Ishin no Kai, describes the character of Nishida.
He would thoroughly use his surroundings to exert pressure on people without getting his own hands dirty. And he never forgives anyone who opposes him once. When the committee was convened, we were recommended to resign, but Mr. Nishida was invited as a witness, but as a result, he was not blamed for the incident. However, it was Mr. Nishida who actually controlled the four city council members and moved them as he wished. I am one of those who have been following Nishida-san’s instructions and intentions regarding opposition to voting matters and policies.’ After the 19-year municipal election, I have a history of a then-city council member who, after speaking out against Mr. Nishida, was consequently forced to leave the party. Having seen such a situation up close, the city council members had no choice but to move according to Nishida’s instructions.”
Mr. A also claims to have been subjected to intense emotional distress by the supporters of Nishida’s supporters’ association, who hurled abusive remarks at him, such as “Stop the Restoration! He also claims that he was subjected to intense emotional distress by Nishida’s supporters, who hurled abusive language at him, such as, “Stop the Restoration!
In March 2009, in a lecture hall for my supporters’ group, I was verbally abused by Nishida’s supporters, who denied my character in a strong tone, saying, ‘Your character as a human being is questioned,’ and ‘Stop the Restoration! and “Stop the Restoration!” I was verbally and unilaterally abused. To my surprise, Mr. Nishida, who was present at the meeting, got down on his knees and apologized to his supporters, saying, “I am responsible for approving such a person. I simply wanted to exchange opinions on what was different on policy, and I just wanted to realize the policies I wanted to do, but he did not listen to me at all, using majority rule as a shield, and he gradually removed me from the ladder. I decided that even if I stayed in the Moriguchi Restoration Association, politics for the citizens would not be possible, so I left the party.
Another person involved in the city council also revealed that he was once forced to get down on his knees by Councilor Nishida, who told him, “If you can’t get down on your knees here, I can’t support you. Mr. A later left the Restoration Association, but he had no contact with Mr. Nishida.
Another former city councilor, Mr. B, who belonged to the Moriguchi branch of the Ishin-no-kai, also testified that he was harassed by a prefectural assembly member through the supporters’ association.
Mr. Nishida is very determined to crush anyone who does not follow him. I was also subjected to power harassment many times. It all started when I objected to being asked to show the amount of the donation payment that I had already submitted to the headquarters. In addition, after I proposed an opinion that was opposite to Mr. Nishida’s, ‘Oppose the increase in the price of garbage disposal for bringing in,’ which was proposed by then Mayor Katsuki Nishibata, who was supposed to be a fellow member of the Restoration Association, he has been obstructing my activities at every opportunity.’ Even during the Moriguchi City Council election in 2007, despite the fact that there were six Ishin-approved candidates, he pointed at us and said, “Two of them are not really my friends. Furthermore, in the “Ishin Press” before the election, four new candidates were introduced, but our two incumbents were not introduced at all. Because of this, when I expressed my opinion on the proposal at the Moriguchi branch’s board meeting after the ’19 election, Nishida’s supporters strongly abused me, saying, “If you decide on your own, quit the Restoration Association. In the first place, I don’t understand the sense of involving citizens in order to pass one’s own opinion, even though this is the place for the branch to make decisions on city council bills. After that, they submitted a recommendation to leave the party to the head office, saying that I did not follow the branch’s decision, and as a result, I was forced to leave the party.
Mr. B has repeatedly protested to the party headquarters about the behavior of Nishida, the branch leader.
He said, “I submitted a number of letters of opinion to the party headquarters, saying that Mr. Nishida’s behavior as a branch leader was so appalling. Perhaps thinking that this was indeed a bad idea, Hideyuki Yokoyama, the current mayor of Osaka City, went to Moriguchi several times to hold hearings and said, ‘Nishida-san’s behavior was indeed bad. Another executive also said, “Even if you leave the party once, we will bring you back after a while. However, as a result, he was not able to return, and I am also angry at the party headquarters for not taking action after confirming the power harassment.
What will he say about the multiple cases of power harassment? We directly interviewed Mr. Nishida, a prefectural assembly member.
–We have received testimonies from several former city council members and staff members that they were subjected to power harassment by Mr. Nishida.
They said, “Not at all. Who is saying that? Surprise! Surprise!”
–Mr. A. said that Mr. Nishida was pressured by then Mayor Nishibata to “oppose with or without saying so” against his policies or against anything that would come up in the city council.
Not at all. I am surprised. It’s too biased. It’s a surprise.”
–Mr. B, who was a member of the Restoration Association at the time of the last municipal election, testified that he was subjected to blatant interference in the election by Mr. Nishida, who said, “Six people were officially certified by the Restoration Association headquarters, but you (two people) are not members of the same Restoration Association. The two were not members of the same Restoration Association.
I’m surprised. I am surprised.”
–Mr. B said that at the Moriguchi branch, an officer from a branch affiliated with Mr. Nishida’s supporters’ association made a strong and coercive remark in a strong tone, saying, “You are not qualified to be a member of the Restoration Association,” and “Stop it.
When we were deciding on the direction of the city government, I said, ‘Let’s follow the decisions of the branch firmly from now on. I think we discussed the fact that Mr. B said, ‘I will act according to my own ideas,’ which is different from what he said. It was too one-sided.
When we sent a written question to Nishida’s office again later that day, we received the following response regarding his comments to Mr. B.
In May ’19, the Moriguchi City branch of the Restoration Association held a board meeting, and four new members were elected, bringing the total number of members of the association from two to six. As the branch manager, I said, “From now on, the six of you should discuss and vote for or against the agenda. Mr. B then said, “I will make a decision based on my own judgment. In the past, in 2001, the Osaka Restoration Association prefectural assembly was divided on the Senboku Rapid Transit project. As a result, four members of the prefectural assembly who violated the decision made by the group were expelled from the prefectural assembly immediately after the plenary session. The Ishin-no-kai is firmly rooted in the idea of thorough discussion until a decision is made, but of united action when a decision is made. In response to Mr. B’s comment, an officer of the Moriguchi City branch (a private citizen) said, “If you make decisions only based on your own thoughts, you are not a member of the Restoration Association. If that is the case, you should quit the Restoration Association. I am not sure if that is what he meant this time when he said, ‘Stop the Restoration,’ but again, please tell us the details of the situation.”
Regarding the failure to include the two council members in the PR magazine of the Restoration Association, he responded as follows.
Regarding the “Restoration Press” introducing only four members, it is not an introduction of only four members, but a special issue for newcomers featuring the four prospective official candidates. Four years later, before the ’19 election, the two incumbents had already distributed their own reports on city politics in the city, and since there were four new candidates, we felt that we had to support them, but above all, we published this issue because of the wishes of the new candidates. The publication cost was also paid by each of the prospective newcomer candidates.
We also sent a letter of inquiry to the headquarters of the Osaka Restoration Association regarding a series of allegations of power harassment by Nishida, but received no response by the deadline.
When interviewed directly, Nishida repeated that he was ” surprised” and “not at all. However, Nishida’s allegations were not limited to power harassment within the party or against city officials.
In the second part of the article, “‘Associating with a person with a criminal record,’ suspicious documents were spread… Osaka Restoration Association candidate for the House of Representatives is suspected of having a ‘black relationship'”, we will pursue the allegations against not only Nishida but also his supporters.
Photo： Afro (Representative Yoshimura) Kei Kato (direct interview)