• kyodo, staff report

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The National Impeachment Court held its first hearing in the trial of Kiichi Okaguchi on Wednesday. A judge at Sendai’s High Court, Okaguchi was suspended from his duties — with the prospect of a full dismissal — after posting harmful and inappropriate messages on social media.

In addition to being the first impeachment trial since 2013, Okaguchi’s case marks the first time in Japan that a judge has been prosecuted for publicly expressing their thoughts. There have been seven impeachment cases in the past that ended in a judge’s removal from office, but all of them were the result of criminal acts or serious violations of official duties.

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