Leader’s Orders Inside Keisho Taira’s Unusual Heckling Trial | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Leader’s Orders Inside Keisho Taira’s Unusual Heckling Trial

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Tokyo Assemblyman Taira, who belongs to the Tomin First no Kai party, was personally supported by Governor Koike during the election.

“Who do you think you owe your existence to?” 

“Then ask better questions!”


These loud heckles were shouted on September 27 last year in the main chamber of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. Assemblyman Keisho Taira of the Tomin First no Kai party directed them at Hitomi Kiriyama of the Mirai Conference, who was questioning Governor Yuriko Koike’s management of city affairs. 

Our magazine’s investigation has revealed that Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member Taira is currently suing the Mirai Conference for defamation. Taira is known as the younger brother of Airi Taira, a celebrity and wife of former Japan national soccer team member Yuto Nagatomo. He ran for the first time with the Tokyoites First Party in 2017 and was elected. He was re-elected in the 2021 election and is now serving his second term. During the last election, his brother-in-law Nagatomo showed up to support him, which also attracted attention.

It is unusual for the heckler, in this case, Taira, to file a lawsuit, but what exactly is happening?

According to the complaint obtained by our magazine, Taira sued Daijiro Yonekawa, a member of the Mirai Conference, and Motonari Kimura, the representative of the political group Mirai Conference, at the Tokyo District Court on October 20 last year. The lawsuit is for “damages based on defamation” (claim amount: 3 million yen). A source familiar with Tokyo politics disclosed this information.

“The Mirai Conference is a faction formed mainly by former members of the Tokyoites First Party who had doubts about Governor Yuriko Koike’s reform policies. The issue started when the Mirai Conference posted about the actual content of Taira’s heckling on X (formerly Twitter). Along with specific details of the heckling, they also posted that Taira had whispered to Assembly Member Kiriyama, ‘I will heckle during the general questions session. This is an instruction from the leaders of the Tokyoites First Party,’ before Kiriyama started his questions. Shortly after, Assembly Member Yonekawa and Representative Kimura also reposted this on their own X accounts.

In response, Taira is suing, claiming that he was defamed by being portrayed as someone who acts under the instructions of party leaders and that this damaging impression was widely disseminated. Taira is seeking the removal of the posts and the publication of an apology.”

According to documents related to the lawsuit obtained by our magazine, Taira makes the following claims:


“The impression has been widely spread that I am a politician who, regardless of my own will, actively engages in vile behavior if instructed by the party or organization, and avoids personal responsibility, thereby significantly damaging my social reputation.”


This clearly seems to refer to the Mirai Conference’s claim that the heckling was directed by the leaders. On the other hand, the Mirai Conference is also taking a firm stance on this controversy.

Protest Letter from Mirai Conference to Tokyoites First Party. In the section labeled “Anticipated Content,” it states, “There were instructions from the executives” (from Assembly Member Yonekawa’s social media).

Last October, the Mirai Conference submitted a “Protest Letter Regarding Offensive Remarks by Assembly Member Taira” to the Secretary-General of the Tokyoites First Party and also made it public on X. According to documents obtained such as the lawsuit, they have not changed their assertion that there were instructions from executives, and it is expected that this will remain a contentious issue in the future.

Regarding how the Mirai Conference perceives this lawsuit, when we requested an interview about the details of the trial, Representative Kimura responded.

“While it is true that we have been sued, we are dismayed as to why we, who received heckling, are the ones being sued. The Assembly is generally open to the public, and we have submitted video evidence of the heckling to the District Court. It is a fact that Assembly Member Kiriyama was told by Assembly Member Taira before questioning. We plan to prove this in court through proper procedures. If instructions from executives exist, this heckling and offensive remarks would constitute organized harassment targeting specific individuals or factions. We posted to demand an apology and an explanation regarding organizational involvement.”

In response to our magazine’s inquiry about the reasons for filing the lawsuit, Assembly Member Taira responded in writing as follows:

“This lawsuit is filed for defamation due to false information spread about me on social media by the defendants. We are following the judicial procedures under the court’s guidance. Due to the ongoing litigation, I refrain from providing further comments at this time.”

The unusual trial’s outcome remains uncertain. The next procedural steps for the preparation of arguments are scheduled for mid-June, followed by oral arguments and eventually concluding the trial.



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