• Kyodo

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Lawmaker Anri Kawai, who has been indicted on a charge of vote-buying during her House of Councilors election campaign last year, was released on bail Tuesday following four months in detention.

Kawai, who was arrested in June with her husband Katsuyuki, a former justice minister who is a member of the House of Representatives, left the Tokyo Detention House after the Tokyo High Court rejected prosecutors' appeal against a lower court decision made earlier in the day to grant her bail. She paid ¥12 million in bail.

With nearly all evidence examined and witness questioning completed, the court apparently decided that the possibility of Kawai destroying evidence was very low.

The 47-year-old is eligible to attend the ongoing extraordinary session of the Diet but is unlikely to, people close to her said.

Kawai is accused of conspiring with her 57-year-old husband to violate the election law by handing out cash to five individuals in Hiroshima Prefecture to reward them for securing votes for her in the July 2019 election.

Katsuyuki Kawai remains in detention after the Tokyo District Court rejected his four pleas for bail.

In the first hearing in August of what was initially their joint trial, Anri Kawai and her husband both pleaded not guilty.

But she has been tried separately from the former justice minister since September after he fired his lawyers and hearings in his case were suspended.

According to the indictment, Katsuyuki Kawai handed out about ¥29 million to 100 people including local politicians between March and August last year with the intention of securing votes for his wife.

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