Kurokawa and Tsubasa Party Suspects Arrested, But Tokyo Gubernatorial Election Campaign Continues | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kurokawa and Tsubasa Party Suspects Arrested, But Tokyo Gubernatorial Election Campaign Continues

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Ryosuke Nemoto, who waved to the press, among others. Despite gaining popularity with female fans known as the “Nemoto Girls” during his time as secretary-general of the “Tsukasa no To” party, things have taken a turn.

Still, it doesn’t seem like “Boom Hey Hey Hey” will disappear anytime soon.


On May 17th, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested three individuals from the political group “Tsubasa no To” on suspicion of violating the Public Offices Election Act (obstruction of freedom) for obstructing street speeches by other camps during the April by-election in Tokyo’s 15th district. The arrested individuals are Atsuhiko Kurokawa, the representative of the party, Ryosuke Nemoto, the secretary-general, and Yuto Sugita, the head of the organization headquarters. Their responses to the allegations have not been disclosed.

The Second Investigation Division established a special investigation headquarters, the first since the investment fraud case involving Near Future Communications in 2006. A former Tokyo Metropolitan Police official commented,

“Cases involving the delicate balance between freedom of expression and other rights are inherently challenging. Nevertheless, due to complaints from other camps and growing public outcry, they decided to make the arrests. Naturally, there would have been discussions with the prosecution beforehand about whether to proceed with charges. The establishment of a special investigation headquarters was surprising, but it shows the seriousness of the situation. In a way, it feels like a state-sponsored investigation.”

After 23 days of detention, the fate of the three suspects will be determined by whether they are prosecuted or not. According to the former police official mentioned earlier.

Hayato Sugita, head of the organization’s headquarters, arrested at his home in Nerima Ward

“After conducting such an extensive investigation, it’s unthinkable not to proceed with prosecution. Formal charges can’t be avoided, and as long as the suspect, Kurokawa, continues to deny, bail won’t be easily granted even after prosecution,” he points out.

The Tsubasa Party has over ten active members, and the authorities are investigating including other offenses.

“One of Tsubasa Party’s funding sources is YouTube ad revenue. During the by-election period, they uploaded over 40 videos, and suspect Motoharu was proudly saying, ‘Ad revenue is increasing.’ It seems they were considering turning election interference into a business in the future,” (National Newspaper Social Affairs Reporter)

From the beginning, he boasted, “I have no intention of winning in the by-election.” Several Tsubasa Party members were living together at Motoharu’s residence, constantly discussing, “How can we stand out? How can we increase the number of video views?”

“Starting with Governor Yuriko Koike, journalist Kaori Arimoto, and London Boots 1 and 2’s Atsushi Tamura, they were also targets of interference. Targeting well-known figures to increase access. Regardless of their principles, besides, there were many female fans for the handsome suspect, Motoharu,” (Sports Newspaper Political Correspondent)

Now hardly distinguishable from troublesome YouTubers, following the arrest, the Tsubasa Party claims suppression of speech and unjust arrest.

Next up is the Tokyo gubernatorial election, with declarations made by Kurokawa before his arrest. Under Japanese law, one can still run for office while in custody as long as the presumption of innocence applies.

Kurokawa probably didn’t expect to be detained before the gubernatorial election, but as a precaution, he meticulously instructed the remaining members on how to handle the election.

“On the night before his arrest, Kurokawa announced on social media that during the gubernatorial election, they would deploy sound trucks to five major stations in Tokyo and do ‘Hey, Hey, Hey’ with loudspeakers. The remaining members will likely carry out his plan.

The announcements to be broadcast are already recorded. Just because Kurokawa and others were arrested doesn’t mean their activities will cease,” (Same Sports Newspaper Reporter)

Even if the suspects are prosecuted, it will take over a year for a verdict. During that time, the YouTube channel will likely be forcibly banned, but it’s unlikely the organization will be dismantled until then.

This incident seems like an opportunity to fundamentally reassess the significance of elections. Let’s hope it doesn’t further accelerate the public’s disengagement from politics.

Suspect Nemoto coming out of his house
The “Nemoto Girls,” a group of young women who have become close friends of Nemoto because of his good looks.
  • PHOTO. Shinji Hasuo

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