Justice Minister Midori Matsushima appeared to be clinging to office on Friday after receiving a criminal complaint over her election conduct.

Takeshi Shina, vice secretary-general of the Democratic Party of Japan, on Friday filed the charge at the Tokyo District Court, accusing Matsushima of breaking the election law by distributing "uchiwa" (rigid handheld fans) to voters in her electorate.

Shina said Matsushima handed out the promotional gifts bearing a caricature of her accompanied by name and title at several festivals and events in her Tokyo constituency. This broke the election law, which bans candidates from donating goods of a certain value to voters, he said.