The lower house of Japan's parliament passed a rare resolution Thursday urging a lawmaker to consider resigning following controversial remarks that alluded to Tokyo waging war with Moscow to regain control of a group of disputed islands.
The resolution by eight ruling and opposition parties against Hodaka Maruyama, unanimously adopted in a plenary session of the House of Representatives, states that he is "not qualified to be a Diet member" and presses him to consider stepping down.
Maruyama did not attend the plenary session and was unfazed by the motion. "I will serve my term and move on," the 35-year-old lawmaker said on Twitter.
It is the first time that the Diet has adopted a resolution pressing a lawmaker to consider resigning, according to the secretariats of both houses of parliament.
Maruyama has been under fire since remarks he made during a visa-free trip in May to Kunashiri, one of four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido. Shortly after the remarks came to light, the Japan Innovation Party ejected Maruyama, a lower house member elected from Osaka.
After drinking heavily, Maruyama asked the leader of a group of former Japanese residents, "Do you think there is any alternative to war (to recover the islands)?"
A drunk Maruyama also begged to go to a bar near his accommodation, asking, "Are those places with neon signs bars?...Are there women?" adding, "I want to go out to grope breasts."
The resolution criticized Maruyama for making a series of "unbelievable remarks, including one that goes against the pacifism enshrined in the Constitution."
His words "seriously hurt national interests," the resolution said, adding "the authority and integrity of the lower house was undermined."
Maruyama's retraction of the remarks and apologies did not dissuade six opposition parties, including the Japan Innovation Party, from jointly submitting a resolution urging him to quit.
The ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, initially took a more measured approach, calling on Maruyama to seriously reflect on his behavior in a separate draft resolution.
The ruling parties later decided to step up pressure and submitted the latest resolution that used more severe wording, which was supported by the opposition camp.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been seeking to resolve a long-standing row over the disputed islands and conclude a postwar peace treaty with Russia, though the prospects for a breakthrough appear slim.
The two countries remain apart over the islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.
Abe told an upper house session on Wednesday that Maruyama's remarks "totally differ from the government's policy that aims to seek resolution through diplomatic negotiations."
Japan maintains the islands were illegally sized by the former Soviet Union following Tokyo's surrender in World War II, while Russia claims the seizure was a legitimate outcome of the war.