Katsuyuki and Anri Kawai
15 July 2020
Former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his lawmaker wife, Anri Kawai, were charged with violation the election law by buying votes in Anri Kawai’s election campaign last summer. Katsuyuki Kawai, 57, is a House of Representative member, and Anri Kawai, 46, is a member of the House of Councilors.
Katsuyuki Kawai, known to be close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was arrested on June 18 on suspicion of giving $240,000 to 94 local politicians and supporters between March and August last year. He admitted to distributing cash but denied he intended to buy votes.
Anri Kawai was arrested the same day on suspicion of conspiring with her husband on $16,000 of the cash handouts to five of the politicians. Anri Kawai has said she has no recollection of her involvement in illegal activities.
Prosecutors have seized documents from the Kawais’ residence that they believe shows cash distributions of around $282,000 in total.
For trials involving election-related crimes, the Public Offices Election Law requires the courts to deliver rulings swiftly, typically within 100 days. Therefore, Kawais are likely to receive their court rulings within 100 days.
The two resigned from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party over the scandal. They are now facing calls from some party members to explain how they spent $1.4 million given to them by the party ahead of the Upper House election.
Some local politicians have admitted receiving cash have resigned from their posts. Prosecutors have decided not to charge them as they did not solicit the money, according to the sources.
The Tokyo District Court on Wednesday rejected bail requests from former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his lawmaker wife, Anri, who have been indicted on a charge of vote-buying during her Upper House election campaign last summer.
Japan Times reported.