The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on Friday indicted a former politician from the Democratic Party of Japan on fraud charges.

Joji Yamamoto, 38, was charged with fraudulently obtaining more than 20 million yen in government salary paid to a woman registered as his secretary over the four years after his election to the Lower House in October 1996, violating the Political Fund Control Law.

Yamamoto falsely registered the 51-year-old woman as a government-paid secretary in charge of policy affairs and defrauded the government of about 23.6 million yen in public funds between October 1996 and September 1999.

In addition, he submitted a falsified report to the home affairs minister via a local election committee, claiming the secretary had donated 9 million yen to his political support group, the indictment said.

In line with a decision the same day by the Tokyo District Court, meanwhile, Yamamoto was released from the Tokyo Detention House on bail of 20 million yen.

Yamamoto, who admitted the charges, left the DPJ shortly before his arrest on Sept. 4. He then resigned as a lawmaker on Sept. 8, and the party removed his name from its members’ list.

Prosecutors also arrested Akinori Imai, 35, another of Yamamoto’s government-paid secretaries, in connection with the case, but released him Friday without reaching a decision on whether to indict him.

A by-election for Yamamoto’s seat in Tokyo’s No. 21 single-seat constituency is scheduled to be held Oct. 22. Three candidates, including Etsuko Kawada, the mother of an outspoken HIV-infected man, have so far announced they will run for the seat.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.