The abrupt resignation of the land ministry’s parliamentary secretary, Takeshi Tokuda, on Monday was the result of a sex scandal involving a minor, according to the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho.
The magazine, which hit newsstands Wednesday, says the Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker in February 2004 “forcefully” had sex with a 19-year-old in a Tokyo hotel after getting her heavily intoxicated at a restaurant and bar.
Tokuda was 31 years old at the time and married. He was then serving as a secretary to his father, Torao, a former Lower House lawmaker and head of the Tokushukai medical group.
The magazine reported that despite efforts by the girl to fight off the assault, Tokuda molested her once in the evening and again the next morning before leaving the room with her still on the bed.
The woman, now 28, filed a petition with the Tokyo District Court in February 2007 and demanded ¥20 million in compensation. According to the magazine, Tokuda agreed to pay half that amount but has yet to formally apologize to the victim. He reportedly said the sex was consensual.
Tokuda has remained publicly mum on the topic, only stating on his blog that he “cannot comment on the matter” due to his agreement with the victim. “I apologize to the public for causing trouble in such a manner,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly decided to tap Manabu Sakai, a Lower House member from Kanagawa Prefecture, to replace Tokuda.
Tokuda, from Kagoshima, was a rising star in the ruling LDP for his fundraising clout. He raised the most in 2011, raking in ¥250 million and topping big guns Abe and People’s Life Party chief Ichiro Ozawa.
Tokuda also continues to hold influence over his father’s Tokushukai group, Japan’s largest medical conglomerate. It runs 66 hospitals and more than 280 medical facilities in total. According to the Sankei Shimbun, ¥8 million of the ¥10 million compensation paid to the victim came from the medical group.
The pre-emptive exit by Tokuda, two days before the scandal broke, has yet to damage the Abe administration. But during his previous one-year stint as prime minister that began in September 2006, his support ratings fell amid scandals involving his Cabinet, and one minister’s suicide.
In December 2006, state minister Genichiro Sata resigned over a political money scandal, while Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma stepped down in July 2007 after making comments that justified the atomic bombings of Japan. Farm minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka hanged himself in early 2007 amid a scandal, and his successor, Norihiko Akagi, quit in August 2007 amid a financial scandal, paving the way for Abe’s resignation a month later.
The opposition camp hasn’t gone full throttle over Tokuda’s resignation, at least not yet.
Asked Monday whether the Democratic Party of Japan will take a jab at the administration, DPJ Secretary General Goshi Hosono said he had nothing to say at that point.
“I am completely unaware of the details so I can’t comment” about the resignation, Hosono, who himself was involved in a scandal involving a female newscaster in 2006, told reporters.