Japan's Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai speaks to journalists after submitting his resignation in Tokyo on Thursday. Photo: AFP
politics

Justice minister quits over wife's alleged election law breach; 2nd cabinet exit in a week

24 Comments

Japan's justice minister on Thursday became the second cabinet member to quit in a week, after allegations his wife broke election law while running for a parliament seat.

Katsuyuki Kawai told reporters he had submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe early on Thursday.

The move came after the Shukan Bunshun magazine reported allegations that the minister's wife Anri Kawai paid staff members a daily allowance that exceeded the amount permitted by law.

The resignation comes a week after Abe's trade minister Isshu Sugawara quit his post after another Shukan Bunshun report alleged he gave voters pricey gifts including melons and crabs.

Kawai denied any wrongdoing but said stepping down was the best decision under the circumstances.

"Neither my wife nor I were aware of the issue, and I believe I've been carrying out political activities in line with laws," he said. "I will investigate the issue and explain, but in the meantime public trust in the justice administration will be lost."

Abe separately offered an apology in remarks to reporters for having appointed Kawai during a recent reshuffle that also brought Sugawara into the government.

Masako Mori, former minister in charge of addressing the issue of low birth rate, will replace Kawai as the new justice minister, Abe said.

Abe's cabinet has maintained public approval ratings of around 40-50 percent in recent years, despite several political scandals, with experts pointing to the continued weakness of the opposition as a key factor.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

24 Comments
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Endless corruption, endlessly.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

"I will investigate the issue and explain, but in the meantime public trust in the justice administration will be lost."

Like anyone with half a brain in Japan has a modicum of trust for Japan's justice administration... especially foreigners.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Masako Mori, former minister in charge of addressing the issue of low birth rate

Well done Mori-san, you were clearly very successful there and I’m sure you thoroughly deserve to remain in a leadership role.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

High approval ratings just because there is nothing (or better no one) else to choose from!

The list of quitters just keeps on growing! But they got it made already, so probably don't care too much.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Is justice so partial to let the Justice Minister be judge and party since the accused is his wife ?

Medieval times...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

For overpaying his staff? Really?. You quit a position like his over that. What would seem to any normal person like o be a forgivable lapse? There must be something going on behind the scenes. There’s no way these guys are that weak. Is there a folder full of wrongdoing somewhere and this guy has become the latest to fall on his sword lest it be exposed? The domino effect? What’s going on?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Political Circus!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Is there anyone legit qualified and pure/honest there in Kasumigaseki because the list of people that have been involved in scandals, coverups, breaking election laws and bribes is astonishing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Is there anyone legit qualified and pure/honest there in Kasumigaseki?

is that a trick question papi?:-)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

For overpaying his staff? Really?

Well, if you're the justice minister...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How does quitting your job translate into "avoiding prosecution" if a law was broken or breached?

Could we all do that? I'm sure we couldn't...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japan's "JUSTICE" minister, speaks volumes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This country's government is crazy corrupt, yet nary a peep about it from its citizens...well I guess that explains it.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Seems like a fairly minor infraction. Frustrating to see the dinosaurs higher up on the political ladder get away with murder on a regular basis and there be no such repercussions.

Being a member of the old guard seems to place you above reproach and grant complete political and legal immunity.

"I'm sorry that you thought I broke the law". Bow, move along, no accountability necessary.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Seems like a fairly minor infraction

and not even his own doing, but his wife. Storm in a tea cup yet again. Abe has got man up and tell Shukan Bunshun where to shove their endless tabloid crap.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Well, lets see Japans rule of law be fair. Arrest Anri Kawai, hold her for 23 days without a access to a lawyer, relentlessly demand a confession from her. Put her in isolation in Kosuge then keep refusing her bail (she might leave the country). Finally give her bail a an exorbitant amount, and of course, forbid her to contact her husband.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Endless corruption, endlessly.

Endless Japan/Japanese bashing, endlessly.

I grew up in the Chicago area. If this is the best that Japan and the Japanese can up with in the way of corruption, we deserve all the bashing that is directed at us in this venue.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Endless corruption, endlessly.

Endless Japan/Japanese bashing, endlessly.

No, it is not Japan bashing. It is simply an unfair, pathetic justice system of a country coming to light.

Remember, the USA (and other countries) do not have the luxury of armies of apologists, who spend their time making excuses for every stupid thing Japan and some of it's people does.

Japan is in seismic decline in every aspect, from it's birthrate, to moral standards, economic and integrity. Japan has only itself to blame. Being honest is not Japan bashing.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Ex Res,

Great comments.

As soon as anyone goes against the grain in Japan....the 'Japan Bashing' mantra starts up in earnest.

That is why nothing ever changes around here.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

and not even his own doing, but his wife

The concern is that he is justice minister ( another ministery would be different) so police, investigators and judges would have to work on their big boss's wife, the couple's joint personal accounts, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That was a very honorable action and respected. Nothing wrong in his conduct and willing to face responsibility and consequences for his action or lack awareness of actions. There are other members who ride the family name coat tails but have no honor in stepping down when over their heads or talk out of context. Way to go Sir.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That is why nothing ever changes around here.

Correct. Japan apologists only make things worse. It's why many Japanese feel that they ate doing nothing wrong.

While I wish all new arrivals to Japan well, my best advice to these apologists is to take off their rose tinted spectacle's on arrival in Japan, and put some clear lenses on, and get their mindset out of kawai la la land.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Mamamia, and they are responsible for the judgment of people....

we are screwed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Another one bits the dust!...(tu-ru, run, tun tun...)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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