The upper house of the Diet on Thursday passed a censure resolution against Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker Yoriko Kawaguchi, which removed her from her position as head of the Diet's committee on environmental issues.
It is the first time that the head of a Diet committee has been removed from such a position.
Seven opposition parties submitted the censure motion against Kawaguchi for extending a trip to China last month without getting official Diet approval, TV Asahi reported.
Kawaguchi, a former foreign minister, visited Beijing on April 23 and was supposed to return to Tokyo on April 24. However, her April 24 meeting with a senior Chinese government official was postponed until April 25. Kawaguchi got the OK from senior LDP officials to remain in Beijing but did not notify the Diet. A meeting of the environment committee, scheduled for April 25, had to be canceled as a result.
Kawaguchi told a news conference after the vote that she thought the outcome was irrational and that it showed the deterioration of the opposition parties. She said she believed it was in Japan's national interests for her to attend the high-level meeting with the Chinese government official and that her deputy could have stood in for her at the environment committee meeting in Tokyo.© Japan Today