OSAKA – Nippon Ishin no Kai expelled lawmaker Mikio Shimoji from the party Wednesday over money he received from a Chinese company at the center of a bribery scandal linked to casino resorts.
On Tuesday, Shimoji, a member of the House of Representatives, submitted a letter of resignation from the party to its leadership.
But Nippon Ishin refused to accept the letter and opted to oust him instead. Shimoji on Monday admitted that he received ¥1 million in cash from Chinese company 500.com Ltd., which was planning to open a so-called integrated resort in Japan. The party also decided to urge Shimoji to resign as a lawmaker.
Nippon Ishin, which is closely related to regional political group Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka), apparently aims to minimize the scandal’s negative effects on its image as it hopes to attract a casino resort to Osaka Prefecture, pundits said.
Nippon Ishin decided on the expulsion at meetings that involved executives and the disciplinary committee. After the meetings, Nippon Ishin Secretary-General Nobuyuki Baba told reporters in the city of Osaka that Shimoji has substantially hurt public trust in politicians.
“We want him to quit as a lawmaker as he has caused doubts among the public,” Baba said.
“There is no change in our party’s policy of seeking to bring an (integrated resort) to Osaka,” he added.
Late last month, Lower House member Tsukasa Akimoto, who was the Cabinet Office’s state minister in charge of the government’s project to launch casino resorts in the country, was arrested by public prosecutors on suspicion of receiving ¥3.7 million in bribes from 500.com.