• SHARE

OSAKA — Yet another former senior official at the Kinki Postal Administration Office has been arrested on suspicion of using his position to urge postmasters to support the campaign of newly elected House of Councilors lawmaker Kenji Koso, police said.

The Monday evening arrest of Hiromasa Akai, 59, a former general affairs department chief at the office, brought to 15 the number of people arrested on suspicion of election violations connected to Koso, who ran on the ruling Liberal Democratic Party ticket in last month’s Upper House election.

On Tuesday, posts minister Toranosuke Katayama said he would assemble top officials from regional posts bureaus and postal inspection bureaus to directly question them about the widening scandal and the roles, if any, they may have played during the Upper House race.

Akai is suspected of urging some 100 postmasters to join a support group for Koso in a March meeting of a group of post office heads in Osaka, in violation of the Public Offices Election Law, police said.

He also allegedly instructed them to join activities to increase the number of Koso’s supporters, they said.

Akai, currently head of the Kyoto Central Post Office, has owned up to the allegations, Osaka Prefectural Police officials said.

Meanwhile in Tokyo, all four opposition parties agreed Tuesday to jointly urge Kenji Koso to voluntarily step down from his Upper House seat to take moral responsibility for the arrest of 15 of his supporters in last month’s election.

“The incident is a typical case of systematic corruption, and he was elected under unlawful circumstances,” said Hirotaka Akamatsu, a senior member of the Democratic Party of Japan.

Koso previously served as head of the Kinki Postal Administration Office.

The Kyoto Central Post Office is one of the major offices overseen by the Kinki administration.

Police the same day found that Tsuyoshi Mishima, current head of the Kinki Postal Administration Office who was arrested Sunday in connection with the case, used his office to discuss election campaign illegalities with other senior officials.

Police searched the office and six other locations to substantiate allegations about Mishima, 59.

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.

SUBSCRIBE NOW