Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The main opposition Democratic Party at an executive meeting on Friday decided to accept the same day the resignation of scandal-hit former DP policy chief Shiori Yamao from the party.
The move came as the embattled party is trying to minimize the impact of the scandal ahead of the Oct. 22 triple by-elections for the House of Representatives and an extraordinary Diet session seen starting later this month.
In its latest edition published on Thursday, the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine reported her alleged affair with a married lawyer. On Thursday night, Yamao, 43, who is also married, submitted her resignation from the DP to its secretary general, Atsushi Oshima.
Speaking to reporters later in the day, Yamao apologized for causing trouble to the party while denying the suspected extramarital affair.
Only on Tuesday, the party launched a new leadership team led by Seiji Maehara, who was elected DP president last week.
Yamao’s exit is “very regrettable,” Maehara told reporters on Friday, adding that he respects her decision.
The DP believes that it does not need to expel Yamao instead of accepting her resignation offer, because her departure reflects her private affair, not an act that damages the party, DP officials said.
Maehara initially planned to appoint Yamao to the key post of party secretary general, expecting her to act as a “poster girl” for the party during its campaigns for the by-elections and the next lower house election.