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Tokyo cops raid Happiness Realization Party over vote buying

Terence Lee
Terence Lee

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Tuesday searched the headquarters of the Happiness Realization Party (HRP) in Minato Ward on suspicion of vote buying for an election last month, reports Nippon News Network (Aug. 2).

Officers entered the party’s office, located in the Akasaka area, in search of evidence connected to violations of the Public Office Election law for candidate Tokuma Suginomori in the House of Councillors election that was held on July 10.

Last month, police arrested television personality Terence Lee, 51, whose real name is Yoshiteru Kato, for allegedly receiving 50,000 yen for giving a campaign speech in support of Suginomori. Two other persons were also arrested in the case.

According to TV Asahi (July 26), Lee, who frequently appears on programs to comment on military affairs, denies the charges. “I did not think (the payment) was for the campaign speech,” the suspect is quoted.

“As to the search, there appears to have been strong political forces behind it,” a representative of HRP said in a statement, according to Nippon News Network (Aug. 2). “We will proceed with lodging a strong complaint against the investigative authorities.”