Former DPJ lawmaker Joji Yamamoto, arrested earlier this week on suspicion of fraud, said Thursday he will resign from the House of Representatives, according to his lawyer.
Shigeaki Ito, Yamamoto’s lawyer, said he will consult with his client to determine the exact timing of the resignation, adding he has already received the necessary paperwork from him.
If Yamamoto’s resignation comes before Sept. 16, a Lower House by-election for his seat, Tokyo’s No. 21 single-seat constituency, will be held in October in accordance with new rules on by-elections.
But if his resignation comes on or after Sept. 16, the by-election will be held in April. The new rules are intended to group by-elections together on a semiannual basis.
The Democratic Party of Japan has demanded that Yamamoto, 37, leave the Diet. Yamamoto resigned from the major opposition party shortly before his arrest Monday on suspicion of keeping 20 million yen in government salary paid to a woman falsely registered as his secretary.
He allegedly took the cash over a period of nearly four years, beginning from his first election to the Lower House in October 1996, according to prosecution sources.
Yamamoto registered the woman as his full-time government-paid secretary in charge of policy affairs even though she only worked occasionally for him, the sources said.
He allegedly paid her between 50,000 yen and 100,000 yen a month and used the rest to cover office rent and fund political activities, they said.
Following Yamamoto’s announcement, DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama and Secretary General Tsutomu Hata discussed the party’s options in dealing with the scandal. Striking Yamamoto’s name off the party’s historical roll is one possibility, DPJ sources said.
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