Upper House asks Tomobe to resign

The House of Councilors adopted a resolution Apr. 4 calling on chamber member Tatsuo Tomobe to resign in connection with his indictment for fraud.

It was the first time for the Diet to adopt a resolution calling on a member to resign. No similar resolutions proposed in the past, involving six Diet members, were adopted.

The resolution, which was submitted by representatives of all parliamentary groups in the chamber, said that Tomobe has damaged the public’s trust in politicians. “It is unpardonable that Tomobe remains in his post after inviting severe public criticism,” the resolution said.

Tomobe, 68, his son Momoo and three others have been indicted on charges of swindling 33 depositors of the Orange Kyosai Kumiai mutual aid society out of about 620 million yen between 1994 and 1996. However, Tomobe is unlikely to resign in response to the chamber’s nonbinding resolution.

Michio Sato, former head of the Sapporo Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office, was the sole chamber member to vote against the resolution. Sato said it is against judicial principle to make such a punitive motion before court hearings end. “I should say that it is unfair to adopt such a resolution only against Tomobe, who is now alone in the political world, after overlooking questionable conduct by other politicians who have stronger political backgrounds,” Sato said.

The former prosecutor added that he wonders why the Diet remains silent over a recent ruling handed down by the Tokyo High Court to former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takao Fujinami in connection with bribes he received from Recruit Co.