Kensuke Miyazaki, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker who rose to fame for becoming the first Japanese lawmaker to file for paternity leave and to vocally advocate men’s rights and obligations to support women in looking after children, resigned Friday over admitting to having an affair with a model that took place just days before his wife gave birth.
At a press conference at the National Diet in Tokyo on Friday morning, Miyazaki, 35, bowed repeatedly and said he deeply regretted his actions and has decided to resign from his position, Fuji TV reported. He specifically apologized to his wife and “those who had considered the debate regarding paternity leave.”
“Because my inappropriate acts have contradicted the policy I have advocated in public, I have made the decision to submit my resignation as a member of the Diet,” Miyazaki said, repeating the word “fukaku” (deeply [regret]) three times in a row.
News of Miyazaki’s affair broke on Wednesday when the tabloid Shukan Bunshun leaked that he spent the night of Jan 30 with a model, identified as Mayu Miyazawa, at his apartment in his constituency in Kyoto on Jan 30, six days before his wife Megumi Kaneko gave birth to a baby boy at a Tokyo hospital on Feb 5.
Kaneko, 37, is a fellow Lower House member of the ruling LDP party.
During the press conference, Miyazaki admitted that the allegations against him were correct and that he had met the woman a total of three times, though they no longer keep in touch, Fuji TV reported. He further admitted that he had relations with other women apart from Miyazawa after marrying Kaneko.
Miyazaki confessed his infidelity to his wife, who is still hospitalized following post-birth complications, Sports Nippon reported Friday. Kaneko has reportedly told Miyazaki to “spit out everything” and take responsibility for his actions, even if that meant to “disgrace himself publicly,” the paper reported.
“I would most of all like to apologize to my wife and my family, as well as those who have supported my wife,” Miyazaki said at the press conference. “I did a horrible thing to my wife despite her just having given birth. I would like to use my remaining time in life to make it right for her and my child.”
Miyazaki caused a stir in Japan late last year following his announcement to take a one-month paternity leave after his child was born, as there are currently no regulations on childcare leave in the lower house. Miyazaki’s actions were praised by many who believed the lawmaker was setting a precedent for advancement in women’s rights and child rearing in conservative Japan, though he also faced a considerable amount of criticism by a number of Diet members and scholars, including the Nihon University political science professor Yoshikazu Iwabuchi, who criticised Miyazaki’s intentions, saying that he believed the man had “more important things to do as a Diet member.”
When announcing his paternity leave plans, Miyazaki said that his actions reflected on his willingness "to promote women's social advancement.”© Japan Today