The ruling coalition on Thursday rejected an opposition proposal to vote on whether to demand that former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takao Fujinami, whose bribery conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court, voluntary resign from the Diet.
At the Rules and Administration Committee of the Lower House, seven members from three opposition parties — the Democratic Party of Japan, Social Democratic Party and Japanese Communist Party — proposed to end deliberations and vote on a resolution they jointly submitted.
But 17 members from the ruling bloc opposed the proposal, apparently fearing such a vote would deal another blow to the Liberal Democratic Party-Liberal Party-New Komeito coalition. Further Diet deliberations are expected on the issue.
Fujinami belonged to the LDP but left the party after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction late last month.
Under the current law on public elections, a Diet member convicted of bribery must resign. But it does not apply to Fujinami’s case because he was indicted before the law’s revision in 1992.
Members from the ruling bloc argued that someone elected to the legislature with the support of voters should be the one who decides whether to resign.
But Takao Sato of the DPJ pointed out that some members in the ruling bloc once supported a similar resolution when a high court ruled Fujinami was guilty in 1997.
Of the 20 Diet members who supported that resignation recommendation in 1997, five now belong to New Komeito, two to the LDP and three to the Liberal Party.
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