• Kyodo News


The House of Representatives on Friday accepted the resignation of Nobutaka Machimura, a former chief Cabinet secretary for the Liberal Democratic Party who has decided to run in this month’s Lower House by-election.

Machimura is now authorized to run in the Oct. 24 by-election for the Hokkaido No. 5 single-seat constituency to fill the vacancy left by ruling Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Chiyomi Kobayashi, who resigned in June over an election campaign funding scandal.

Machimura, who also served as education minister and foreign minister, lost to Kobayashi in last year’s general election but retained his seat in the powerful Lower House thanks to the proportional representation voting system.

Machimura’s resignation earned fellow LDP member Hiroshi Imazu a seat in the chamber. Imazu, a former senior vice defense minister, lost to a DPJ candidate in another Hokkaido electoral district in the general election and missed out on a seat in the proportional representation part of the vote.

In the upcoming by-election, the first to pick a lawmaker for the Diet since the Upper House poll in July, Machimura is expected to square off with a DPJ member and other potential candidates.

Kobayashi stepped down after the Sapporo District Court found the Hokkaido Teachers Union and its acting chairman guilty of providing ¥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 was found guilty of paying campaign volunteers in violation of an election law.

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