Fukushiro Nukaga, policy chief of the Liberal Democratic Party, proposed Sunday that a bill be drafted to amend the law on Diet members’ government-paid secretaries that would set new guidelines on the employment of family members.
The proposal, made on a TV talk show in which other parties’ officials also appeared, came after Diet member Kanju Sato was arrested for allegedly embezzling money intended as salary for a secretary. Sato, who belonged to the Democratic Party of Japan, also had his wife work as one of his official secretaries.
Lawmakers are allowed to have up to three government-paid secretaries.
“Lawmakers should not employ family members as official secretaries. At least they should not hire spouses or parents,” Nukaga, chairman of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, said.
DPJ Policy Research Committee head Yukio Edano said, “We should set a rule. The DPJ is ready to do so ahead of other parties.”
Nukaga said under the envisioned amendment, lawmakers’ children would be allowed to serve as secretaries, while Edano said it should ban only family members who live with lawmakers.
Kazuo Kitagawa, New Komeito’s policy chief, and Japanese Communist Party policy head Akira Koike, proposed a total ban on family members as official secretaries.