TOKYO (TR) – Lower House lawmaker Shiori Yamao, once pegged to become the secretary-general of Democratic Party (DP), is engaged in an extra-marital affair with a lawyer nine years her junior, according to a weekly tabloid.
An article appearing in Shukan Bunshun (Sept. 14) claims that Yamao, 43, had clandestine meetings with Rintaro Kuramochi, 34, on several occasions in late August and early this month.
On September 2, Seiji Maehara was elected as president of the DP. That night, according to Bunshun, Yamao appeared a high-end hotel in the capital wearing a white shirt and jeans.
About 20 minutes later, she met Kuramochi, who was clutching a carry bag, at the entrance of the hotel. After purchasing wine and beer, the pair 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. On September 5, it was learned that he was instead appointing former senior vice Cabinet minister Atsushi Oshima to the post.
Elected in 2009
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.
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.
When reached for comment by the magazine, the office of Yamao denied a romantic relationship exists between the lawmaker and Kuramachi. “It is a business relationship,” a representative of the office said.