A junior lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday indicated her intent to resign following allegations that she physically and verbally attacked one of her secretaries, an LDP source said.
The move by second-term Lower House lawmaker Mayuko Toyota comes as campaigning starts Friday for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, which will take place under the cloud of favoritism allegations directed at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also serves as head of the party.
“We want to do something about this quickly,” a senior LDP member said Thursday.
According to a report in the edition of the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho that hit newsstands Thursday, Toyota was sitting in the back seat of a car driven by one of her secretaries on May 20 when she yelled at him and struck him several times on the head and face, causing injuries.
Shukan Shincho posted online an audio file alleged to be a recording of the incident in which a woman is heard hurling insults, including “baldy,” at a man who says he is driving, apologizes repeatedly and asks her to stop hitting him.
Toyota, a 42-year-old former bureaucrat, was elected from the No. 4 district in Saitama Prefecture in 2012 and re-elected in 2014.
Scandal has plagued several LDP lawmakers who were elected to the Lower House in the December 2012 election, in which the party returned to power after three years in opposition.
Toyota worked at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry before entering politics. While she was at the ministry, the government sponsored her master’s degree at the Harvard School of Public Health, according to an article published by the school in 2014.
The fresh scandal involving one of its lawmakers has come at a bad time for the LDP, as the July 2 election is widely expected to turn into a fight for control against a new assembly group established by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.
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