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Members representing a group of about 660 lawyers and scholars from around Japan head to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on Thursday to file a complaint against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and two top members of his support group for the alleged violation of the public office election law and political funds control law in relation to Abe's state-funded cherry blossom viewing party. Photo: KYODO
crime

Criminal complaint filed over 2018 dinner party for Abe supporters

40 Comments

Around 660 lawyers and legal scholars filed a criminal complaint with prosecutors Thursday against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and two of his aides, claiming Abe's office shouldered part of his supporters' expenses for a dinner party in 2018.

They claim Abe and the aides violated the election law by partially funding the party for supporters held at a Tokyo hotel on the eve of a publicly funded annual cherry blossom viewing party in April 2018. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office will examine whether to formally receive the complaint.

"It is assumed that the prime minister intended to strengthen his support base by having his supporters enjoy the cherry blossom party and the pre-event without feeling a financial burden," the complaint said.

"A thorough investigation is necessary to break the deplorable stalemate caused by the prime minister's lack of accountability and (the ruling coalition's) obstruction of efforts to shed light on the truth," the lawyers and scholars said in a statement.

The complaint noted around 800 participants, including many voters in Abe's constituency in Yamaguchi Prefecture, paid 5,000 yen each to attend the dinner party held at Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, even though such events at the hotel normally cost at least 11,000 yen each.

Abe and the two senior officials of his support group conspired to cover around 6,000 yen per participant to make up for the shortfall, which totaled 4.8 million yen for the voters, according to the complaint.

The lawyers and scholars also allege Abe and the aides failed to mention the dinner party in the support group's report on political funding submitted to the government, in violation of the political funds control law.

Abe has denied the allegation in parliament, saying in response to questions from opposition lawmakers that the hotel set the price for the party.

A group of lawyers in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, began a campaign in January to get to the bottom of the matter, gathering support nationwide.

The prime minister has also faced criticism over the cherry blossom viewing event after it was revealed that hundreds of his supporters had been invited and traveled to Tokyo on a package tour arranged by his local office.

As a result, Abe decided to cancel the cherry blossom event this year. The annual party began in 1952 to honor people such as athletes and celebrities for their accomplishments.

Guests at the cherry blossom event were traditionally selected based on recommendations from politicians. Both the number of guests and the amount spent by the government had been rising under the Abe administration.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
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Good, the more you pile on the more Abe squirms and makes more mistakes!

19 ( +23 / -4 )

I am sure this will go nowhere. The ruling LDP have one law for them and another for everyone else.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

Time for another stomachache

17 ( +19 / -2 )

@Fiddlers

"I am sure this will go nowhere."

Came here to say this. How much longer before we get some story about a faceless new guy, a paper shredder, and an accident?

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Not quite sure what the crime is. I suppose it could be construed as trying to buy their votes, but I guess that they were probably party members already.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Not quite sure what the crime is. I suppose it could be construed as trying to buy their votes, but I guess that they were probably party members already.

The crime? Election laws here are very specific about giving anything of value to potential voters. Recently one lawmaker will be found guilty of over-paying a few campaign workers by about 5,000 per day. They are only supposed to get 10,000 a day, and they paid 15,000. He could go to jail for it, and he will lose his seat in the diet. Another resigned for giving out paper-fans, for her campaign.

The crime? (Read the article, it's clearly written!)

The complaint noted around 800 participants, including many voters in Abe's constituency in Yamaguchi Prefecture, paid 5,000 yen each to attend the dinner party held at Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, even though such events at the hotel normally cost at least 11,000 yen each.

Abe and the two senior officials of his support group conspired to cover around 6,000 yen per participant to make up for the shortfall, which totaled 4.8 million yen for the voters, according to the complaint.

Abe could go down for this! All the other crap will be forgotten, including his screw ups with this pandemic, but the people will NOT forgive him for campaign finance violations

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Knit pickers.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

party members already.

Party member or not, they are voters, and odds are most are NOT party members! It's not that easy to get into a party here.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Around 660 lawyers and legal scholars filed a criminal complaint with prosecutors Thursday against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and two of his aides, claiming Abe's office shouldered part of his supporters' expenses for a dinner party in 2018.

Thats a lot of legal experts, I'd have to sensibly side with them over a denial from the PM. But as the prosecutors job is to protect the elite rather than the rule of law, they will waffle bluster and reject the application out of hand with no reason given. Free pass again.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This is the top news item today? Damn, things around Japan and the world must have gotten much better over night.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Go get 'em guys!

And the rest of the crew!

5 ( +9 / -4 )

What type of person sells their vote for a few thousand yen?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hubris. Its felled quite a few despots over time.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What type of person sells their vote for a few thousand yen?

These people dont see it as selling their vote. These folks form the backbone of Abe's constituency in his home prefecture. They would vote for him either way, and this is Abe's way of paying their loyalty and support back.

A politician giving them "something" for supporting them. It's a traditional Japanese thing, give someone something, like my neighbor when he was doing some rebuilding on his property, he gave out boxes of frozen shrimp to everyone around him, because of the "noise and nuisance" he was causing.

People give gifts here for everything, and in politicians cases, they expect a return, called their vote!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

YeahRightToday  08:40 am JST

This is the top news item today? Damn, things around Japan and the world must have gotten much better over night.

Well ...er...yes. Things have gotten much better overnight with the announcement that the Abe Inc's corrupt, "buddy buddy", autocratic system of govt is finally being officially challenged.

To surmise that this is merely a minor infraction of little import is a failing to understand how the democratic process in japan has been constantly undermined at the whim of the "elite" for decades.

Best News.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Look at these guys: can't even carry a box properly.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'm not saying this isn't news. I'm no fan of Abe-chan. But to consider this the "TOP STORY" downplays everything else. There's a lot more going on in the world that is of much greater importance. For example, I think the story on embryonic stem cells will have a much bigger impact on the world at large than on accusations of paying for a party. I like the good news. We need more of it.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

This is the top news item today?

Yep, violations of the law shouldn't be swept under the carpet, whatever else is going on.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is why the opposition never wins in Japan. During arguably the greatest pandemic of the century, facing the greatest economic depression after World War 2, and almost 700 lawyers waste their resources for a party fee from 2 years ago (party that has been held for the last 70 years).

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

This is the top news item today? 

Japan's PM to be impeached.

That's big.

U.S. has been trying to do it to Trump for years... and was big.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Long, long, long overdue.

Moritomo, kakei, Sakura, Abenomask just too many and if you dig further there are many, many others. The independence of prosecutors is really called into question and dire reform is really needed.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Timeon

This is why the opposition never wins in Japan.

Maybe I missed it.

Is it mentioned in the article that the lawyers and scholars support the opposition?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why is everything in Japanese politics so similar to Americas? Hasn't the Left learned from the Democrat's impeachment of Trump that this will go nowhere?

*"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it." *Winston Churchill

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I thought this was the news about the ¥100000 yen per Japanese residents subsidy crime on the slow moving Japanese Government and the lack of them actually assisting the people who voted for Abe san, but I can see that this story is really about how Abe san had a party and many people are not happy about it. Too bad that Abe san can not have a party paid for by the citizens of Japan. Too bad indeed.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

so just to recap, for weeks the top prosecutor with a reputation for protecting abe's interests is embroiled in controversy, yesterday he resigns from his position for an "unrelated" reason and today a complaint is filed at the prosecutors office to file charges against abe.

i only pretend to understand how politics works so this seems like quite the coincidence...

looks like the opposition needed to clear the obstacles to make sure their only bullet hit the target. it may be petty but remember al capone's empire came crumbling down due to tax evasion of all things. when people want to see you go down, they will do whatever it takes to make it happen.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

when people want to see you go down, they will do whatever it takes to make it happen

Well, Abe gave them Morimoto Gakuen, dodgy approval for his pal's vet school, public-funded cherry blossom boondoggles, shredded documents and erased computer files, snuggling up to Trumpo, attempts to trash the Constitution, a failed economy.....it's stupefying to think that the opposition would have only one bullet, or the there would be any risk of not hitting such a huge ginormous target.

Invalid CSRF

3 ( +4 / -1 )

looks like the opposition needed to clear the obstacles to make sure their only bullet hit the target. 

Looks like some people don't read an article before commenting.

Where is it stated it is the opposition that is suing Abe. It is not even possible.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

 During arguably the greatest pandemic of the century,

Arguably? This century is only a little over 20 years old and you are going to say there is a "greater" pandemic than this one? Or even one "arguably" close?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan's PM to be impeached. That's big. U.S. has been trying to do it to Trump for years... and was big.

Don't know much about how Japanese politics work huh? Japanese PM's don't get impeached.

There is no such thing here!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Impeachment is limited to judges, not government ministers.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Impeachment is limited to judges, not government ministers.

Did you even read the article? The subject is about Abe, not any judges, and the question was or comment, about ABE being impeached.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Did you even read the article? The subject is about Abe, not any judges, and the question was or comment, about ABE being impeached.

My reply was to

bokuda

not Yubara

This is the top news item today?

Japan's PM to be impeached.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe and the two senior officials of his support group conspired to cover around 6,000 yen per participant to make up for the shortfall, which totaled 4.8 million yen for the voters, according to the complaint.

Is the 4.8 million a typo or am I missing something? 800 people covered for 6000 yen each equals 480 000 yen. Still a big number but far from 4.8 million...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't know...Just seems like they should have better things to worry about...and how much will they spend on this and it not go anywhere

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

At the end we people only know the facts that won't be facts anymore, to say that history was made by power and force and now by money. That's the reality and that's all, and will be deleted in the future, haha!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

SamuiToday  02:41 pm JST

Abe and the two senior officials of his support group conspired to cover around 6,000 yen per participant to make up for the shortfall, which totaled 4.8 million yen for the voters, according to the complaint.

Is the 4.8 million a typo or am I missing something? 800 people covered for 6000 yen each equals 480 000 yen. Still a big number but far from 4.8 million...

Huh??? Looks about right to me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Samui

Is the 4.8 million a typo or am I missing something? 800 people covered for 6000 yen each equals 480 000 yen. Still a big number but far from 4.8 million...

Not a typo. You are missing a functioning calculator.

6000 x 800 = 4.8M

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Zachi..

This is the top news item today? Japan's PM to be impeached.

Nowhere does it say this! Guess yu have trouble with reading comprehension!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yubaru

   @Zachi..

   This is the top news item today? Japan's PM to be impeached.

Nowhere does it say this! Guess yu have trouble with reading comprehension!

It's zichi, thank you. Nothing wrong with my reading comprehension. I already told you it was a response to the poster, bokuda 10:45am

who posted the comment

"This is the top news item today?

Japan's PM to be impeached."

It would appear you are having problems with reading comprehension.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Who are paying the lawyers bill?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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