Japan's state justice minister hands in resignation over illegal campaign ad

Japan's State Minister of Justice has submitted his resignation for proposing the use of paid online ads for campaigning by a mayoral candidate in Tokyo.

Kakizawa Mito tendered his resignation on Tuesday, saying he intends to take responsibility for proposing the idea. The use of paid Internet ads for campaigning violates the public offices election law.

Tokyo prosecutors have searched the office of Koto Ward Mayor Kimura Yayoi in connection with the case. Her camp had posted the paid ad on a video-sharing site, calling on viewers to vote for her in the mayoral election held in April.

Justice Minister Koizumi Ryuji told reporters that he talked with Kakizawa by phone.
He quoted Kakizawa as saying that he had not been aware of the illegality of his proposal but is deeply remorseful. Koizumi said he told Kakizawa to hold himself fully accountable as a politician.

Kakizawa is a Lower House member elected from a district in Tokyo that covers Koto Ward. The 52-year-old was appointed State Minister of Justice in a Cabinet reshuffle in September.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said during a Diet debate on Tuesday that as the person who appointed Kakizawa, he feels responsible for the state minister handing in his resignation so soon after assuming the post. Kishida said he will work hard to restore public trust.