Prosecutors have decided not to indict former Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki for allegedly illicitly appointing himself acting prime minister after Keizo Obuchi suffered a stroke last year.
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office said Monday there is no evidence to support a criminal complaint filed by the Democratic Party of Japan against the House of Councilors member.
In the complaint, the DPJ said Aoki forged official documents and committed a misdemeanor by appointing himself acting prime minister when Obuchi was lying ill from a stroke April 2.
The prosecutors questioned Aoki and medical staff at Tokyo’s Juntendo University Hospital, where Obuchi was admitted at around 1 a.m. April 2.
An investigation showed there was no proof to overturn Aoki’s claim that Obuchi asked him to “take care of everything if something happens,” the prosecutors said.
They also said it was not unnatural for Aoki to serve as acting prime minister because he had previously sat in for the prime minister when he traveled abroad.
The DPJ filed the criminal complaint with prosecutors in May, saying Aoki had submitted to the speaker of the House of Representatives a notice of his appointment as acting prime minister.
Testifying April 11 before the Diet on the circumstances surrounding Obuchi’s alleged request hours after being hospitalized, Aoki said Obuchi spoke about the volcanic eruption of Mount Usu in Hokkaido and “he asked me to take care of everything if something happens.”
But he acknowledged that Obuchi never specifically asked him to serve as acting prime minister, reversing an April 3 statement that he was asked to “assume the duties of acting prime minister” if a medical examination showed Obuchi could not perform his official duties.
Aoki, who took over as acting prime minister April 3, said Obuchi fell into a coma later on the evening of April 2 and was put on an artificial respirator.
Obuchi died May 14, aged 62, of complications from the stroke.
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