• Kyodo

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A Tokyo court on Wednesday granted bail to former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai who is being tried on vote-buying charges related to his wife’s 2019 Upper House election campaign.

The Tokyo District Court set Kawai’s bail at ¥50 million following his defense team’s fifth request for his release on Feb. 24. Tokyo prosecutors appealed the decision.

Kawai, a 57-year-old House of Representatives member, is accused of handing out a total of about ¥29 million to 100 individuals, including local politicians and supporters in his home prefecture of Hiroshima, to reward them for votes secured in the campaign to make sure his wife Anri Kawai would be elected.

He has been held at the Tokyo Detention House since he was arrested with his wife in June last year.

Anri Kawai was elected in the Upper House race in July 2019 but the couple quit the Liberal Democratic Party, then headed by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, just before they were arrested.

The Kawais initially stood trial together and both pleaded not guilty, but their cases were separated in September after the former justice minister dismissed his defense team, which led his court proceedings to be suspended.

Anri Kawai, 47, was found guilty in January for conspiring with her husband in handing out cash to four prefectural assembly members and resigned as a lawmaker the following month.

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