Japan's Lower House denounces 'war' gaffe lawmaker
NHK -- Jun 07
The Lower House of Japan's Diet has unanimously adopted a resolution urging a lawmaker to decide whether to give up his seat over a controversial remark about four Russian-held islands claimed by Japan.

Hodaka Maruyama visited one of the islands with a group of former islanders last month. Maruyama was reportedly drunk when he asked the group leader if he would support starting a war to take back the islands.

On Thursday, the Lower House plenary session voted on the draft resolution submitted jointly by the governing and opposition parties. They include the Nippon Ishin Japan Innovation Party, which expelled Maruyama in mid-May.

The adopted resolution says Maruyama has greatly undermined Japan's national interests and the authority and dignity of the Lower House by repeatedly making remarks that are unworthy of a Diet member.

It goes on to say that Maruyama apparently lacks the necessary qualities to be a lawmaker.

According to the secretariats of the Lower House and Upper House, this is the first resolution to denounce a lawmaker.

In a statement submitted to the Diet, Maruyama apologized for making improper and inconsiderate remarks, but he refused to resign, saying he is apprehensive that the legislature is becoming something like a people's court.

In a tweet on Thursday, Maruyama said he will fulfill his duty as a lawmaker, as he previously said he would in a statement submitted to the Diet.

He cited a remark by 19th-century Japanese statesman Katsu Kaishu that roughly translates as "It's up to me to decide whether to step aside, and it doesn't matter what others say."

Japan calls the Russian-held islands the Northern Territories. The government maintains they are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.

News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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