Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) leader Ichiro Matsui said Tuesday that the party will expel House of Representatives lawmaker Hodaka Maruyama over his recent suggestion that a war is required to take back four Russian-controlled islands.
Maruyama, 35, made the remark in question while he accompanied former Japanese islanders on a visa-free visit from Friday to the northern territories.
On Kunashiri, one of the northern territories, Maruyama asked a tour participant about whether the participant agreed that the islands should be recaptured through a war.
Furthermore, the former economy ministry bureaucrat argued, “Don’t you think things won’t move forward unless we have a war?”
Maruyama is said to have been under the influence of alcohol.
On Tuesday, Nippon Ishin held an emergency meeting of party executives at the Diet and decided to leave the matter to its discipline committee.
Earlier in the day, Maruyama submitted his resignation from the opposition party.
“We’ll take the toughest possible action against him. It’s an expulsion,” party leader Matsui, also mayor of Osaka, told reporters at the city government building the same day.
“He should resign as a lawmaker,” Matsui also said. “He disgusted former islanders and other people in the country by making the remarks, which went beyond a line that lawmakers should never cross.”
At a press conference in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the Maruyama remarks were “very regrettable.”
“The government’s stance of seeking to settle the northern territories issue through diplomatic negotiations hasn’t changed,” Suga stressed.
Maruyama’s remarks were “extremely inappropriate,” Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi, minister for northern territories affairs, told a separate press conference. “We have to prevent the remarks from affecting the [territorial] talks.”Speech