• Kyodo


Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takao Fujinami has told his supporters he will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives, citing his advanced age, sources close to him said Tuesday.

The 70-year-old Fujinami formerly belonged to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party but was last elected as an independent in June 2000 from the No. 5 constituency in Mie Prefecture.

Fujinami met some of his supporters Monday night in Ise, Mie Prefecture, and told them he will not run in the next general election, which must be held by next June, the sources said.

He will announce his plan to retire from politics at a general meeting of his supporters July 26, they said.

He was first elected to the Lower House in 1967 and has since been re-elected 10 times.

Fujinami quit the LDP after he was indicted in 1989 for accepting more than 40 million yen worth of bribes from Recruit Co., a Tokyo-based job information conglomerate. At the time of the bribery, he was chief Cabinet secretary under Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.

The Tokyo District Court found Fujinami not guilty in September 1994.

But in March 1997, the Tokyo High Court reversed the decision, sentencing him to three years in prison, suspended for four years. This decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in October 1999.

He lost his Lower House seat in the 1993 election but recaptured a Diet seat in 1996.

Despite the Supreme Court decision, he did not give up his Lower House seat and won a narrow victory again in the 2000 election.

During the meeting with supporters Monday, Fujinami reportedly said he decided to retire because he had turned 70, the same age when a lawmaker who had formerly been elected from his Mie constituency ended his Diet career.

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