Banned candidate to run from adjacent constituency

AOMORI — A candidate banned from running in his constituency after being found guilty of a guilt-by-association clause in a revised Public Office Election Law will run in the neighboring district in the next prefectural assembly poll, it was learned April 10. Isamu Moriuchi, 59, is the first candidate found guilty under the revised law, which extends responsibility to a candidate if a supporter commits election campaign violations.

The Supreme Court found Moriuchi guilty in a March ruling, banning him from running in his constituency for five years. His 1995 victory in the Aomori city constituency in the Aomori Prefectural Assembly poll was declared invalid. However, by taking advantage of a loophole in the law, Moriuchi will run in the Higashi Tsugaru-gun constituency, adjacent to his original constituency, in the next prefectural assembly poll in April 1999.

Moriuchi told a group of about 130 supporters gathered April 8 in Aomori that he has concluded he should run for the next election there due to strong family ties and relatives living in the constituency. “I am ultimately aiming to become a member of the Diet. The prefectural assembly is only one part of the process,” said Moriuchi, expressing his desire to participate in politics at the national level. He also said his supporters had urged him to run for office again and that it is a politician’s job to respond to supporters’ expectations.

Since his election win was nullified, Moriuchi has consistently criticized the guilt-by-association clause, established in 1994, saying “it should be abolished,” and that “it will not be a plus in subsequent elections.”