Japan’s ruling parties hit by hostess bar scandals, Suga apologizes over lawmakers’ hostess bar visits amid virus emergency.
Japan’s ruling parties are concerned that recent hostess bar scandals involving lawmakers could impact Cabinet approval ratings and upcoming elections.
Three lawmakers of the main ruling Liberal Democratic Party were reported to have visited dining and drinking venues last month, despite the current state of emergency.
They reportedly stayed late at hostess bars in Ginza, one of Tokyo’s main entertainment districts.
The three included former chairperson of the National Public Safety Commission Matsumoto Jun, state minister of education Tanose Taido and deputy Diet Affairs chief Otsuka Takashi. They left the party on Monday.
A fourth lawmaker, Toyama Kiyohiko, from the junior coalition party Komeito, resigned from the Diet on Monday after a magazine reported that he had visited a hostess bar in Ginza last month.
Members of the ruling parties said the departures of the four lawmakers were inevitable, as they acted inappropriately when the government was asking people to comply with anti-coronavirus restrictions.
They also voiced concern that the scandals could lead to lower Cabinet approval ratings and impact the government’s ability to implement policies.
The ruling parties have recently experienced a series of setbacks in local elections. Candidates they supported were defeated in the Yamagata Gubernatorial election last month and a mayoral election in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on Sunday.
In a city assembly election in Kitakyushu, six out of 22 incumbent members of the LDP lost their seats.
The ruling camp has expressed concern that the latest scandals may affect its campaigns for an upcoming Lower House election and a Tokyo assembly election in July.
Opposition parties said the recent election results were a result of people’s dissatisfaction with the government’s slow response to the pandemic.
Opposition members added that the lawmakers involved in the scandals reflected the arrogance and complacence of the ruling parties.