The Tokyo District Prosecutor’s Office decided that the special division of the Tokyo District Prosecutors’ Office did not prosecute former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was accused of providing entertainment to constituency voters, as unfair. As a result, a re-investigation of allegations related to former Prime Minister Abe, which ended in non-prosecution, is inevitable.
According to the Asahi Shimbun on the 30th, it was the 15th that the prosecutor’s review board made this decision. It is similar to the time when former Prime Minister Abe, who had been actively engaged in external activities such as interviews until the beginning of this month, had recently slowed down. He focused his energy on hosting the Olympics and caused controversy by calling those who oppose the Olympics “anti-Japanese”, but did not attend the opening ceremony on the 23rd.
The prosecution’s decision that the non-prosecution was unreasonable was due to the alleged violation of the Public Official Election Act in which Abe’s side paid for the banquets for participants of the ‘Cherry Blossom Meeting’, and the chief accounting officer of the money management group headed by former Prime Minister Abe. There are two charges, including violating the Political Fund Regulation Act for neglecting to supervise. He acknowledged the non-prosecution on charges such as violating the Political Fund Act by not recording the cost of the dinner in the budget report of the sponsoring association that hosted the dinner.
The event in question is the cherry blossom viewing event held in Tokyo by the Japanese Prime Minister by inviting people from all walks of life, and from 2013 to 2019, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe invited hundreds of people from the constituency to a luxury hotel for dinner every year on the eve of the main event. Suspicions have been raised since 2019 that the participants paid only a small membership fee and compensated the difference.
Ex-Prime Minister Abe repeatedly asserted that participants paid for the dinner at the National Assembly last year, saying, “There was no expenditure at the office or support group,” and “the difference was not compensated.” However, in reality, it was revealed at the end of last year that an amount that was impossible with only about 5,000 yen per person was spent, and that the shortfall was being made up for by Abe.
The Tokyo District Prosecutor’s Office Special Department launched an investigation, but only the former secretary (62), who was in charge of accounting as the representative of the support group, was briefly indicted, and at the end of March, all four people involved, including former Prime Minister Abe, were not prosecuted due to insufficient evidence. Civil society groups have filed a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office for review, arguing that it is unfair.
The Prosecutor’s Review Board is a system in which 11 people aged 20 and over with voting rights examine the validity of the prosecution’s non-indictment, and the decision is made in three ways: ‘equivalent to indictment’, ‘unreasonable to non-prosecution’, and ‘equivalent to non-indictment’. Among them, the prosecution should re-investigate the cases of ‘equivalent to indictment’ and ‘unfair prosecution’. If the prosecution decides not to prosecute again, a second review will be conducted only if it is ‘equivalent to indictment’, and if it is determined as ‘equivalent to indictment’ here, a compulsory prosecution will be instituted. This time, because the prosecution was ‘unjustified’, the prosecution will decide not to prosecute again.
Tokyo = Jinju Choi correspondent [email protected]
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