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Thursday, July 3, 2003

JCP to reinforce old ban on members' drinking


Staff writer

Stung by a humiliating sexual harassment scandal that led to the resignation of a top executive, the Japanese Communist Party said Wednesday it would reinforce an internal rule to prevent further trouble from its members.

The rule: JCP members who work at the party's Tokyo headquarters are prohibited from drinking anywhere except their home.

Hideyo Fudesaka, who served as the party's policy affairs chief, was forced to resign from the House of Councilors and all party posts last week after admitting to sexually harassing a woman in late May at a party where alcoholic drinks were served.

The scandal prompted Kazuo Shii, chairman of the party's Executive Committee, to renew the party's pledge to make JCP members comply with the rule Wednesday at the Diet building.

Shii said the rule requires members at JCP headquarters to notify the party in advance if they plan to be drinking outside the home, including such occasions as public functions and receptions.

He said the in-house rule was drawn up after the party suffered a string of scandals involving drunken party members in the 1970s. He said he did not know any more details regarding how the code came to be.

A spokesman at the JCP's Tokyo headquarters refused to reveal the actual wording or any other details of the internal rule. It is something that is meant to be followed by party members only, he said.

The reluctance to disclose details may be criticized as yet another indication of the secretive nature of the JCP, which has drawn criticism for refusing to reveal details of Fudesaka's reported sexual harassment, saying it would violate the privacy of the woman.



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The Japan Times

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