As previously reported in this magazine ( Mito Kakizawa, who resigned as Deputy Minister of Justice, may be arrested for “bribing” some ward assembly members…allegations of “cash handout” to some ward assembly members ), on November 3, each newspaper reported that former Deputy Minister of Justice Mito Kakizawa, 52, who is based in Koto Ward, distributed cash to ward assembly members over the Koto Ward mayoral election held this April. The morning editions of newspapers on November 3 reported that Kakizawa, 52, a former vice minister of justice who has a stronghold in Koto Ward, distributed cash to ward assembly members.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, “Kakizawa’s side distributed cash to several ward assembly members before the Koto Ward Mayor election.
Koto Ward Mayor Election: Suspicion of Bribery, District Public Prosecutor’s Office Hears Ward Councilors ‘Received Cash from Kakizawa'” (Yomiuri Shimbun)
“Kakizawa’s side: Ward councilors receive cash from Kimura after Kimura announces run for Koto Ward mayor” (Sankei Shimbun)
“Kakizawa’s side in cash from ward assemblyman: ‘Nothing to do with Koto Ward Mayor Election'” (Mainichi Shimbun)
Until then, the issue had been the suspicion that Yayoi Kimura, 58, had violated the Public Offices Election Law by paying 140,000 yen in paid advertisements to a video ad site to solicit votes for her.
On October 26, two days after the forced investigation by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, Mayor Kimura announced his resignation. Kakizawa testified to the Asahi Shimbun that “I recommended” the use of paid advertisements, and on October 31 he resigned as deputy minister of Justice.
Subsequently, it was discovered that Kakizawa had used a meeting room in the Nagatacho assembly hall to film the video, and Kakizawa’s active involvement in the case became clear.
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s Special Investigation Department conducted a mandatory investigation of Kimura’s home, his parents’ house, and the ward mayor’s office on suspicion of using paid advertising. However, the main focus of the investigation was to uncover Kakizawa’s cash distribution in the ward mayor’s race.
Good luck in the election!
In February and March of this year, Kakizawa offered cash to more than a dozen ward assembly members. The actual person who made the offer was Mr. I, a former ward assemblyman who served as secretary to Kakizawa’s father, the late former foreign minister Koji Kakizawa. He had joined Kimura’s camp in the mayor’s race, brought out his own campaign car, and was the one who coordinated the campaign for the ward mayor.
Office personnel led by Mr. I contacted more than a dozen ward assembly members and handed them envelopes containing cash with Kakizawa’s name on it. They would ask for a receipt as confirmation of receipt. This was repeated several times before the April election.
Whether the cash distributed to the ward assembly members was political funds or a request to consolidate votes for the ward mayor election has become a point of contention in the investigation.
A reporter in charge of judicial affairs for a national newspaper said, “A visit to the camp was a ‘political visit.
If the cash was transferred as “political funds for political activities,” there is no question of illegality,” said a reporter in charge of judicial affairs for a national newspaper. However, if the cash is judged to be a “request to compile votes for a ward mayor election” or “compensation for campaigning for a ward mayor election,” then it would be considered a “buying votes with money” and the suspect would be charged with bribery, with a view to possible arrest.
Was the money really a campaign contribution?
Ward assemblyman Tatsuya Kito, 70, who helped Kimura’s campaign, was interviewed in front of his office in Monzennaka-cho on November 3. He said, “I was given an envelope containing 10,000 yen,” he continued.
It’s a visit to the campaign. I’m sure you are all looking into it, right? I didn’t receive any money (other than political funds).
When we contacted Kakizawa’s office, he reiterated his denial of any illegality.
I distributed the money as a campaign visit for the ward assembly election, and I kept the receipts one by one, so I am handling the money properly.
According to the ward assemblyman and supporters, the amount of cash distributed under the guise of a campaign visit was 10,000 yen or 200,000 yen. Originally, 10,000 yen was given to ward assembly members close to Kakizawa.
On the other hand, the more expensive 200,000 yen campaign contribution is believed to have been distributed to five LDP-affiliated ward assembly members.
Why is there a 20-fold difference in the amount of money given to the same ward assembly members?
Kakizawa has been elected five times and has a long history of working as a member of opposition parties such as the Minna-no-tō and Ishin no Kai.” He ran for the House of Representatives in 2009 as an independent and became a member of the Liberal Democratic Party after winning the election, but it took him two years to be appointed as the LDP’s Tokyo Metropolitan Government 15th Constituency branch chief in Koto Ward because of fierce opposition from the Tokyo Metropolitan Federation’s executives,” said a reporter from the political section.
(Political reporter) A ward assembly member who was asked to visit the LDP’s Koto Ward office said that although he became branch chief in July of this year, he was distant from the LDP’s ward assembly members due to the circumstances of his appointment.
The councilor who was offered the campaign visit said that he had been distanced from the LDP councilor because of his history, and continued, “We have fought each other in many elections, and I wonder if he considered it an expensive campaign visit as a way to shorten the distance between us. Although there was no request for Kimura’s support in the mayoral election, the fact that the letter was distributed just before the election may have implied the intention of asking Kimura to ‘follow our lead.
The ward mayor election was a bitterly contested composition within the LDP. The LDP nominee, Kazuki Yamazaki, 50, a Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member and the eldest son of the former ward mayor, and Mr. Kimura, who served as a LDP member of the House of Representatives, competed for the nomination. Mr. Yamazaki was backed by former Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide (74), Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi (68), and other former cabinet members, and the LDP’s Tokyo Metropolitan Government Federation provided tremendous support.
The election for ward mayor was a battle of mourning following the sudden death of the previous ward mayor, and Kimura’s camp was expected to face an uphill battle. Perhaps they were in a hurry, and it seems that they also offered a visit to the ward assemblyman who supported Mr. Yamazaki in the campaign, and he may have been stabbed (accused).
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is currently conducting a careful investigation into the purpose of the cash distributed to Yamazaki, and it appears that a “distribution list” containing the names of more than 10 ward assembly members and the amount of money distributed to them was also found, and the ward assembly members are being questioned.
The aforementioned judicial affairs reporter said, “Even if the name of the cash was a campaign visit, if it was in fact a gratuity for campaigning for the mayor’s election, it could be considered a bribery charge.
Kakizawa himself has yet to give a firm explanation.
Reporting and writing： Daisuke Iwasaki