The government approved Friday the resignation of top Tokyo public prosecutor Hiromu Kurokawa after he played mahjong for money during the nation’s coronavirus state of emergency.
The government is considering replacing Kurokawa, 63, who was superintending prosecutor at the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office, with Makoto Hayashi, 62, superintending prosecutor at the Nagoya High Public Prosecutor’s Office, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Kurokawa, who tendered his resignation on Thursday, has admitted that he played mahjong for money with employees of newspaper publishers, including journalists, on May 1 and 13, according to the Justice Ministry. After playing mahjong, he returned home in a taxi paid for by the journalists.
In January, the government extended the tenure of Kurokawa, who is believed to be close to the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, by changing its interpretation of the law. The move was criticized by opposition parties as part of an attempt to name him as prosecutor-general.
The government has also drawn criticism for seeking a revision to the law that would allow the Cabinet to extend the retirement age of senior public prosecutors at its discretion. It has since given up its push to enact the revision before the Diet closes for summer next month.