Ex-minister faces summary indictment over gifts

Tokyo prosecutors have issued a summary indictment against former economy, trade and industry minister Sugawara Isshu for making donations in violation of Japan's public office election law.

Prosecutors say Sugawara gave a total of about 4,800 dollars in cash as either condolence or congratulatory money, plus about 2,400 dollars' worth of flowers, to 33 groups and 26 individuals in his constituency over a period of about 18 months through October 2019.

Prosecutors determined last June that Sugawara donated about 2,700 dollars in cash and flowers through his secretary, but they suspended his indictment.

In February, a prosecution inquest committee in Tokyo decided that Sugawara should be indicted, and prosecutors reopened investigations.

They issued a summary indictment on Tuesday after determining that Sugawara's cash gifts amount to illegal donations.

Sugawara has left Japan's main ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and last week resigned from the Lower House of the Diet.

If an order for him to pay a fine is finalized, he will be barred from running for public office for five years.