• Kyodo

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Former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai, accused of buying votes in an Upper House election two years ago, submitted a letter of resignation as a lawmaker on Thursday, days after pleading guilty to the allegations in his trial.

Kawai’s offer to resign addressed to Lower House speaker Tadamori Oshima is expected to be formally approved by the House of Representatives on April 1.

Kawai was indicted over violation of the election law by handing out cash to local politicians and supporters in his home prefecture of Hiroshima to reward them for votes secured in the campaign to get his wife Anri Kawai elected in July 2019.

Although Kawai had pleaded not guilty in previous court hearings at the Tokyo District Court, the 58-year-old reversed course on Tuesday when he admitted to the allegations during questioning and expressed an intention to give up his seat in the Diet.

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

The Kawais were arrested last June. Both left the ruling Liberal Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga shortly before their arrest.

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