National

Fans reportedly handed out by Matsushima prove hot auction items

Kyodo

Fans boasted as having been handed out by ex-Justice Minister Midori Matsushima in her Tokyo electoral district are fetching more than ¥10,000 on a major Internet auction site.

The “uchiwa” started appearing on Yahuoku (Yahoo Japan’s online auction site) soon after the Democratic Party of Japan started to attack Matsushima in a Diet session on Oct. 7. She resigned over the scandal on Monday.

The DPJ alleged the act of handing out the promotional items may constitute a violation of the election campaign law, which prohibits giving goods to voters, even something as apparently trivial as a cheap fan. Matsushima was forced to resign Monday.

One fan fetched ¥16,500 in an auction that closed Oct. 13. More than 10 were on Yahuoku at the same time Monday, with prices reaching several thousand yen.

The auctioned items were of broadly the same design as the one the DPJ took exception to in the Diet.

One seller billed the offering as “the uchiwa amid hot debate, suspected to violate the election campaign law,” while another said, “I received it during a Bon dance festival.”

Matsushima was elected to the Lower House from the Tokyo No. 14 district, which includes Sumida and Arakawa wards.

According to documents submitted to the Diet, she spent ¥1.74 million for 21,980 uchiwa from 2012 to 2014. The fans were handed out to people at festivals and other public events.

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