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Lower House OKs motion effectively urging Maruyama to resign over war comment

TOKYO -- The House of Representatives approved a motion on June 6 denouncing its member Hodaka Maruyama for alluding to war with Russia to regain control of the Northern Territories and engaging in other offensive behavior while visiting one of the four disputed isles making up the territories.

The motion, which was submitted by eight parties and factions, including the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Japan Restoration Party, effectively urges Maruyama to resign as a lawmaker.

The chamber unanimously approved the motion at a plenary session on the afternoon of June 6.

The 35-year-old legislator is under fire for making abusive and obscene remarks after drinking excessively during his stay on Kunashiri Island in mid-May as a member of a delegation on a visa-free visit to the Northern Territories with former islanders.

On Kunashiri Island on May 11, the same day Maruyama landed, he drank at least 10 glasses of cognac during a visit to a household. After returning to his lodging, he reportedly suggested to former residents of the Northern Territories that it would be good to get the Northern Territories back through war with Russia. In relation to his attempts to make an evening excursion, he asked, "Is that place with a neon sign a bar?" as well as, "I want to go feel up some breasts," and, "I want to buy women."

When colleagues on the trip encouraged him to return to his room, he told them, "You're not the police, so why stop me going out? Sitting Diet members are immune from arrest, so I'm not going to get arrested."

His behavior could have invited a situation in which a sitting Japanese legislator would be arrested on the island effectively ruled by Russia.

Calling into question Maruyama's behavior, the motion states, "His behavior could have instantly brought efforts made by those concerned to settle the dispute over the Northern Territories to nothing."

Moreover, the resolution describes Maruyama's behavior as "forcible obstruction of business that hindered the smooth implementation of the exchange program," and says, "Such obscene language and behavior raise doubts about his integrity as a human being, more so than as a lawmaker."

The motion goes on to say that "he is not qualified to be a Diet member," and urges him to "immediately consider whether to stay on or step down" as a legislator.

(Japanese original by Masahiro Tateno, Minami Nomaguchi and Daisuke Nohara, Political News Department)

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