Ruling lawmaker in hot seat over alleged drinking with teenage girl

A House of Representatives member who belongs to a ruling party faction led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida faced growing calls on Friday from fellow lawmakers to explain himself over a magazine report that he went out for drinks with an 18-year-old girl and gave her 40,000 yen.
The drinking age in Japan is 20 and the latest revelation involving third-term lawmaker Takeru Yoshikawa comes at a delicate time for Kishida and the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito ahead of a House of Councillors election in July. Yoshikawa has said he will check the magazine report first.
"I'm aware of the report. It's important that he explains the truth," Kishida told reporters before departing for Singapore.
Keiichi Ishii, the secretary general of Komeito, also called for an explanation from Yoshikawa. "If true, it is extremely regrettable.
The weekly Shukan Post magazine said in its latest edition that Yoshikawa, 40, had dinner and alcoholic drinks with an 18-year-old female university student at a Japanese barbeque restaurant in Tokyo on the night of May 27.
The student allegedly told the magazine she received 40,000 yen from him.
A slew of scandals involving cabinet ministers and politicians have rocked recent administrations.
Public support remains relatively high for Kishida after his prioritizing the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and taking a tough stance against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

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