The Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan is suspected of sexual harassment. He may be replaced before the upper house election.

May 23, 2022

In Japan, the end of the ordinary Diet session is less than a month away. Meanwhile, an unprecedented scandal broke out in Nagatacho. This is a sexual harassment scandal involving House of Representatives Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda. He is 78 years old.

Hosoda has been making a lot of gaffes lately. He said that the annual expenses for House of Representatives members’ activities are 1 million yen a month, but he recognized that the amount was small, which provoked a backlash from the public, who are worried about their daily lives. Facta, a monthly magazine, reported the new allegations. That is sexual harassment. Hosoda’s actions, as well as his statements, have been questioned.

The weekly magazine Bunshun, published on May 19, reported that Mr. Hosoda had repeatedly made sexual harassment remarks to female reporters in the past, asking them “Why don’t you come to my house now?” at midnight and asking, “Do you have a boyfriend?.”

Opposition parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), reacted angrily to the report. In addition to opposition parties, New Komeito, a coalition partner of the Liberal Democratic Party, has also demanded an explanation from the party.

According to information obtained by Facta magazine, Mr. Hosoda’s problematic sexual harassment behavior is not only verbal but also behavioral.

First, let’s look back at Mr. Hosoda’s career. After graduating from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law, he entered politics after working at the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry. His father was Kichizo, a former transport minister, and Hiroyuki was a second-generation lawmaker.

He served as chief cabinet secretary in the Koizumi Cabinet and held key posts such as secretary-general of the party and general affairs chairman. He was elected to the House of Representatives in the autumn of 2021 11 times, based in Shimane Constituency No. 1. He is no doubt a “big-shot” lawmaker, having gone from chairman of the Seiwa Policy Study Group, the LDP’s largest faction, to chairman of the House of Representatives. As it is customary for the chairman to be nonpartisan, he is now an independent.

An official of the party who was traumatized because he could not disclose it said as follows. Contrary to his good-natured appearance and demeanor, sexual harassment has been a topic of discussion in Nagatacho. Sexual harassment remarks such as “Do you have a boyfriend?,” “Why don’t you come to my house?” and “If you’re not here, it’s okay to ask me out at night” are common. However, the information the magazine has obtained is not at the level of “repeat sexual comments.”. A former member of the media’s political department said,.

“A Liberal Democratic Party employee was seriously sexually harassed by Hosoda. Hosoda said he tried repeatedly to touch his body and take off his pants to be alone with the employee.”

Although the employee was traumatized, he was in a difficult situation, saying, “We are in different positions, so we cannot disclose it.”

A female reporter was summoned to Hosoda’s home and sexually harassed. As reported in the weekly magazine Bunshun, this is not a house owned in Setagaya Ward, but a luxury rental apartment in Minato Ward. The media was consulted by a female reporter within the company, and after that, the reporter in charge of Hosoda became a man instead of a woman.

“Political party workers and reporters are in a weaker position than Diet members, and it is difficult to refuse an invitation even at home. It is a mean way of repeating sexual harassment by using it as a weapon.”. Those who were also victimized by Hosoda testified as above.

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In addition to the 1 million yen remark he made earlier, Hosoda criticized a 10 increase and 10 decrease in the number of single-seat constituencies in the House of Representatives.

The Diet will begin deliberations on the fiscal 2022 supplementary budget on May 25. Opposition parties are set to question the facts surrounding the reported remarks and his qualifications as chairman. There is a possibility that the final session of the National Assembly will be an unprecedented one, with the speaker turning into a fireball. As one LDP official put it:.

“In the run-up to the House of Councillors election in the summer, it is not unusual for Hosoda to be mentioned as an early replacement. Fukushiro Nukaga (78), who won the election 13 times, or Hajime Funada (68), who won the election 13 times, the same as Nukaga, are possible successors.”

The LDP has managed to keep many scandals under wraps due to its “power of numbers,” but if it were to become the leader of the three powers, the problems would be far greater. Furthermore, the issue of sexual harassment is a taboo for New Komeito.

According to a political source, there is virtually no mechanism to dismiss the speaker of the House of Representatives, and it is not easy to tie a bell around his neck. However, if there is a groundswell of rumors within and outside the party that he will be replaced, it is possible that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took over the biggest faction in the party, will hand over the leadership. At the very least, the speaker of the House of Representatives, who is so riddled with problems, should not be allowed to stand idly by.

“totally untrue, I want to make a strong protest to the publisher” Mr. Hosoda was quoted as saying by some media reports. He also said he would give himself an opportunity to explain.

based on FACTA June

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