SAPPORO (Kyodo) The Sapporo High Court ruled Wednesday that former House of Representatives lawmaker Chiyomi Kobayashi cannot run in her Hokkaido No. 5 constituency for five years, because her election campaigner was convicted of illegal campaign activities.

Invoking the guilt-by-association clause under the Public Offices Election Law, the high court accepted the argument by the Sapporo High Public Prosecutor’s Office that the former lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan be considered implicated in the scandal.

Kobayashi, 42, accepted the decision, saying in a statement: “I will honor the ruling by taking it seriously. I apologize again that I damaged the public’s trust of politics.”

The guilt-by-association clause stipulates that under certain conditions, a victory in a national election can be nullified and the candidate banned from running for five years in if someone related to the candidate is convicted over election fraud.

The guilty verdict for Kobayashi’s campaigner, who paid campaign volunteers in the August 2009 Lower House election, was finalized in October, prompting the prosecutors to invoke the guilt-by-association option in November.

In the 2009 election, Kobayashi defeated former Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura of the Liberal Democratic Party. But she resigned last June because of the fraud charges. Machimura won the seat vacated by her in a by-election last October.

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