TOKYO (TR) – Lower House lawmaker Shiori Yamao, once pegged to become the secretary-general of Democratic Party (DP), on Thursday announced she will leave the party while denying that she is engaged in an extra-marital affair with a lawyer as alleged by a weekly tabloid.
“There is no relationship,” said Yamao, 43, at a press conference in the capital, according to Yukan Fuji (Sept. 7). “However, I would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused by this misunderstanding.”
Yamao also announced on Thursday that she was leaving the DP. “In order to avoid confusion during the upcoming extraordinary Diet session, I have decided to leave the party,” she said.
An article appearing in Shukan Bunshun (Sept. 14) claims that Yamao had clandestine meetings with Rintaro Kuramochi, 34, on several occasions in late August and early this month.
On September 2, Seiji Maehara elected as president of the DP. That night, according to Bunshun, Yamao appeared a high-end hotel in the capital. About 20 minutes later, she met Kuramochi at the entrance of the hotel. They then disappeared into a room on the 36th floor.
The couple checked out the following morning. In a photograph published by Bunshun, Kuramochi is seen later that day driving a vehicle with Yamao in the passenger seat.
That same day, it was revealed that Maehara was planning to appoint Yamao as the party’s secretary-general, or its number-two position. Two days later, it was revealed that he was appointing former senior vice Cabinet minister Atsushi Oshima to the post.
Constituency in Aichi Prefecture
In 2009, Yamao, a former public prosecutor, was elected to the Lower House as a member of the Democratic Party of Japan, the predecessor of the Democratic Party. In her second term she represents a constituency in Aichi Prefecture. The lawmaker is married with a 6-year-old child, according to Bunshun.
Kuramochi is a popular lawyer who regularly offers commentary on television programs. He is also married.
Yamao made headlines last year for taking on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to task in the Diet over a lack of nursery schools, a situation that emerged via a popular blog post by a mother who expressed her frustration with the difficulty in entering her children in day care.