Hiromu Kurokawa, chief of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office, has submitted his resignation, following his involvement in a Mahjong gambling game. This was after a report by the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun that Kurokawa had broken Japan’s social distancing and stay-at-home order. According to the magazine, the prosecutor who is said to have close ties with PM Abe reportedly gambled in two Mahjong games with reporters from two newspapers on the 1st and 13th of May.
Japan had earlier issued a stay-at-home order as a measure of reducing the spread of coronavirus in the country, a law that the prosecutor breached. Even worse, gambling is illegal in Japan (with few exceptions), but mahjong is not among the excepted games.
Japan’s Justice Minister, Masako Mori, informed journalists that Kurokawa was chastised after an investigation proved the allegations against him to be true. He added that Kurokawa had submitted his resignation on Thursday, which was formally approved by the Cabinet on Friday.
Kurokawa, 63, is currently at the center of a highly debated bill backed by PM Abe’s cabinet to prolong the mandatory retirement age of public prosecutors from 63 to 65. The cabinet also had a say on the appointment of public prosecutors. This saw former prosecutors come out demanding the bill to be thrown out by the Justice ministry.
Earlier this year, the cabinet was accused of delaying Kurokawa’s retirement which had been scheduled for February, by pushing a different interpretation of the law. This marked the very first extension of a prosecutor’s retirement as opponents claimed it was a move for Kurokawa to replace the current prosecutor-general who is set to get retired in summer.
Prime Minister Abe, however, vehemently denied any preferential treatment or personal ties with Kurokawa on Thursday, saying that going forward, public criticism against the bill will be taken into consideration.