National / Politics

Campaign team of justice minister's wife allegedly broke election law

Kyodo

The campaign team for the wife of Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai, who won her first seat in an Upper House election in July, is suspected of having paid staff members a daily allowance that exceeded the amount permitted under the law, a weekly magazine reported online Wednesday.

The Shukan Bunshun magazine said that the election office of Anri Kawai, who ran on the Liberal Democratic Party ticket in a Hiroshima constituency, paid 13 female campaign announcers ¥30,000 ($276) per day, double the amount allowed by law.

The receipts, which were split across two dates — one before the election and the other during — were for the maximum legal amount of ¥15,000 per day, according to the magazine, which will include the story in its latest edition on Thursday.

If the allegations are found to be true, the actions may be regarded as bribery of campaign workers, a violation of the nation’s election law. Opposition parties are expected to push for an inquiry into the matter.

The scandal comes on the back of trade minister Isshu Sugawara’s resignation last week after allegations by the same weekly magazine that his office offered money and gifts to supporters in violation of the country’s election law.

He was the ninth Cabinet minister to step down since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in 2012. In April, gaffe-prone Olympics minister Yoshitaka Sakurada resigned from his post.

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