• Kyodo

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Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura of the Liberal Democratic Party said Tuesday he will run in a Lower House by-election next month in Hokkaido, brought about by the resignation of Chiyomi Kobayashi, a ruling Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker, over a campaign funding scandal.

Machimura, 65, is to offer his resignation as a Lower House member on Wednesday ahead of campaigning for the Oct. 24 by-election in the Hokkaido No. 5 single-seat district, the first election to pick a lawmaker since the Upper House election in July.

Machimura was beaten by Kobayashi when the party suffered a crushing defeat in the 2009 general election. However, he retained his Lower House seat thanks to the proportional representation voting system.

The decision by Machimura opens the way for fellow LDP member Hiroshi Imazu to earn a Lower House seat. Imazu lost to a DPJ candidate in another Hokkaido district in the general election and missed out on a seat in the proportional representation part of the vote.

The DPJ has made it clear it will also field a candidate for the by-election.

In June, Kobayashi stepped down after the Sapporo District Court found the Hokkaido Teachers Union and its acting chairman guilty of providing a total of ¥16 million to her election campaign in violation of the Political Funds Control Law.

Her former accountant was also convicted in June of receiving donations from the union and Kobayashi’s campaigner and found guilty of paying campaign volunteers in violation of an election law.

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