Osaka party expels bribe-taking lawmaker

While Japan’s ruling party is trying to ignore the 500 Dot Com bribery scandal that has entangled five of its lawmakers, the Osaka-based Japan Innovation Party is taking the opposite tack, quickly expelling its bribe-receiving lawmaker and instituting new policies to distance themselves from future scandal.

Mikio Shimoji of Okinawa is the only lawmaker who has so far admitted taking a bribe from 500 Dot Com. He applied to resign from the Japan Innovation Party, but party leader and Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui rejected his application, expelling Shimoji from the party instead. He also demanded that Shimoji resign as a lawmaker.

Meanwhile, the Japan Innovation Party leaders also announced that any company or individual connected to the IR industry would no longer be welcome at any of its lawmakers’ fundraising parties.

The Osaka leaders have been among the strongest advocates for IR construction in the nation, and they are eager that both the national policy proceed as planned and that doubts about their own IR operator selection process are quelled.