Japanese lawmaker to resign after scandal of hidden $250,000 emerges
Hiding income on political funds results in prison sentences of up to 5 years or a fine of up to 1 million yen.
A politician from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Kentaro Sonoura, has announced his plan to resign following a political funds scandal of over $250,000, according to the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri reported on Sunday.
A day before, local media reported a possibility of launching a criminal investigation into Sonoura by the prosecutor's office on the basis of hiding proceeds from ticket sales for multiple events pertaining to his campaign in the amount of 40 million yen ($293,000).
As per media reports, Sonoura's resignation is "unavoidable." The lawmaker could be charged in a procedure whereby an open trial and prison sentence are dismissed but in this case, a fine would be applicable. Sonoura would still have a criminal record if indicted.
Hiding income on political funds results in prison sentences of up to 5 years or a fine of up to 1 million yen. As a result, in the case of Sonoura being required to pay a fine, he will be restricted in civil and political rights for a duration of five years.
Increasing the defense budget
In other news, Tokyo pledged to increase security expenditure to 2% of GDP by 2027, reorganize its military command, and buy new missiles that can target distant enemy launch sites in its biggest defense shake-up in decades.
On September 1, the Japanese Defense Ministry declared a record-high military budget request for 2023 of nearly 5.6 trillion yen ($41.4 billion). This sum only contains the costs that the ministry was prepared to disclose. According to experts and the media, the actually requested budget is 6.5 trillion yen. Japan's defense budget for 2022 was also at a then-record high of 5.4 trillion yen.
On December 8, honoring the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi encouraged Tokyo to preserve their peaceful relationship and not join anti-China political blocs such as those sponsored by the US, hinting at AUKUS.