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Japan Justice Ministry chooses replacement for disgraced senior prosecutor Kurokawa

Makoto Hayashi (Mainichi/Tatsuro Tamaki)

TOKYO -- The Justice Ministry decided on May 25 to appoint 62-year-old Makoto Hayashi to replace Hiromu Kurokawa as head of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office.

Hayashi is currently the chief of the Nagoya High Public Prosecutors Office in central Japan. The appointment was formally issued on May 26.

Kurokawa, 63, tendered his resignation on May 21 after it was reported that the prosecutor had played mahjong for money with daily newspaper reporters during the novel coronavirus state of emergency. His resignation was accepted on May 22.

Hayashi had been tabbed to replace Prosecutor-General Nobuo Inada at the end of the latter's term -- normally set at around two years -- before the Cabinet granted Kurokawa an extraordinary retirement age extension in what was widely seen as a prelude to installing him as Japan's top prosecutor. Hayashi may still get the nod, as he does not turn 63 -- the mandatory retirement age for prosecutors -- until the end of July.

Hayashi, who was appointed to be prosecutors at the same time as Kurokawa, was head of the Justice Ministry's Criminal Affairs Bureau for four years from 2014, and he testified before the Diet in 2017 on creating "anti-conspiracy" provisions to Japan's organized crime law. In 2010, after the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigations unit was found tampering with evidence, he was tasked with leading prosecutorial reforms, including in high public prosecutor's offices.

(Japanese original by Takakazu Murakami, City News Department)

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