CHIBA – The election administration commission of Chiba Prefecture Tuesday declined an application by former Yachiyo Mayor and prefectural assembly member Kazuharu Osawa, 67, to run for Chiba Prefectural Assembly election to be held Sunday, as it became clear that the necessary 10 years have not passed since he served a prison sentence for taking bribes, according to the commission.
The election law states that a person who served a prison sentence for receiving bribes while taking up a public office is prohibited from running for an election for 10 years. Osawa was arrested in November 2002 when he was a mayor of Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture, on suspicion of taking bribes regarding operation of a city-run garbage incinerator facility, and was sentenced to an imprisonment of two and a half years in 2004. He completed his prison sentence in 2006, according to Osawa. He was a Chiba Prefectural Assembly member before becoming mayor of Yachiyo.
The commission said it accepted his application for candidacy on Friday, but confirmed later that he cannot run for the election. The absentee ballots cast for him would become invalid, it said, adding that confirmation on crime history could be made only after the application is filed.
Osawa told reporters he was not aware of the rules and apologized to those who cast absentee ballots for him.