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19 June


Japanese lawmaker will be dismissed for speaking out about the war with Russia

During the exchange program, while intoxicated, he began to make remarks contrary to the policies of the country

Photo: Kyodo

/NOVOSTIVL/ Ruling and opposition parties submitted a resolution to the Diet on Wednesday, pressing a lawmaker to decide quickly whether to resign over remarks he made about waging war with Russia to regain control of disputed islands. This article appeared in the Kyodo.

The resolution against opposition lawmaker Hodaka Maruyama came after the government verified that the remarks were made and that his behavior was problematic when he participated in a visa-free exchange program between Japan and Russia in May.

On a visit to one of four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, the 35-year-old lawmaker (who had been drinking heavily) asked the leader of a group of former Japanese residents, "Do you think there is any alternative to war (to recover the islands)?".

The resolution is expected to be adopted by the Lower House on Thursday, with ruling and opposition parties seeking unanimous approval. However, the motion is not legally binding so it will remain up to Maruyama to decide whether to quit the House of Representatives.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized Maruyama on Wednesday, saying, "It was extremely regrettable as (his remarks) deeply hurt the feelings of former island residents".

The government has confirmed Maruyama went to the home of a Russian family on Kunashiri Island, off Hokkaido, on May 11, and drank more than 10 glasses of cognac.

After returning to his lodging, he also made remarks such as "Are those places with neon signs bars? … Are there women?" and "I want to go out to grope breasts".

When he was stopped by others who tried to prevent him from leaving his lodgings, he said, "I will not be arrested because I am immune from arrest".

Maruyama, elected three times from a constituency in Osaka Prefecture, has repeatedly said he will not resign. He has been expelled from Nippon Ishin no Kai.

After opposition parties submitted a joint motion last month urging him to quit, Maruyama told reporters that the Diet, as a place for free speech, was "signing its own death warrant" with the motion.