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Leading Japan prosecutor hit with only light punishment over gambling

Justice Minister Masako Mori speaks to reporters about a gambling scandal involving Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office Superintending Prosecutor Hiromu Kurokawa, at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on May 21, 2020. (Mainichi/Toshiki Miyama)

TOKYO -- Japan's second-highest-ranking prosecutor who has tendered his resignation after playing mahjong for money with media personnel twice in May has been slapped with a warning -- a penalty lighter than what National Personnel Authority guidelines stipulate as disciplinary action against civil servants involved in gambling.

Justice Minister Masako Mori on May 21 announced that the ministry has issued a warning against Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office Superintending Prosecutor Hiromu Kurokawa over gambling. Under the National Personnel Authority's disciplinary measure policy, an official who was involved in gambling will be given a pay cut or reprimand, but Kurokawa is allowed to walk away with a lighter penalty.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has faced stern criticism from the public over its controversial move to revise the Public Prosecutor's Office Act after deciding to extend Kurokawa's retirement age.

Penalties for national civil servants include "disciplinary measures" such as dismissal, suspension, pay cuts and reprimand, as well as lighter punishment including warnings and written censures. Under the Act on National Public Officers' Retirement Allowance, a civil servant who has been given the harshest penalty of "disciplinary dismissal" will receive none or only a portion of their retirement bonuses.

(Japanese original by Shinichi Akiyama, Political News Department)

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