Koga quits Diet over academic record lies

Kyodo

House of Representatives member Junichiro Koga tendered his resignation Friday to the Lower House after causing a scandal by lying about his academic record.

“I have decided to resign as a lawmaker because I believe that remaining in the position could deepen political turmoil while I may fail to meet voters’ expectations,” Koga said in a statement read by his lawyer.

During his campaign for last November’s Lower House general election, Koga claimed he was a graduate of Pepperdine University in California. Upon hearing of this, however, Pepperdine stated that Koga was not a graduate.

Nevertheless, Koga denied he had lied. He said he thought he had graduated, and even flew to the United States in January for a meeting with Pepperdine officials to clear up the matter, only to leave empty-handed.

Despite Pepperdine’s assertion that he is not a graduate, Koga continued to maintain that he was. But during recent questioning by police in Fukuoka, Koga reportedly admitted that he lied.

Koga, 46, who reportedly is only a high school graduate, had also claimed he attended two other California universities, both of which denied this assertion.

Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono is expected to officially approve Koga’s resignation early next week.

A by-election for the electoral district will take place April 24.