A Diet committee considering the impeachment of judges said Friday that it will not take action against a senior Fukuoka judge who received information on a police investigation into death threats allegedly made by his wife.
The deliberations of the committee, made up of 20 members from both Diet chambers, involved the case of Ryuichi Furukawa, a 48-year-old Fukuoka High Court judge who received information last year from Eiju Yamashita, a former deputy head of the Fukuoka District Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Committee head Kazuo Tanikawa said some members insisted the judge face trial before lawmakers at the Judge Impeachment Court. However, there was insufficient backing to realize the action, Tanikawa said.
Sixteen of the 20 members attended Friday’s meeting. A judge must face trial if more than two-thirds of the committee members demand it.
Of the hundreds of requests for impeachment of judges that have been filed, only six have been sent to trial.
The committee met four times to consider Furukawa’s case and questioned both the judge and members of the Supreme Court committee who investigated him.
On March 30, the Supreme Court’s Grand Bench reprimanded Furukawa, saying he “damaged public trust in judges as he was virtually acting as a defense lawyer for his wife.”
Furukawa has already tendered a letter of resignation, but it was shelved while the committee considered his case. His wife, Sonoko, has been charged with sending e-mail death threats to a woman over a man she became acquainted with through a dating service.
Yamashita resigned as a prosecutor in March after being suspended.
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