Photo/IllutrationSatoko Murakami, a member of Kita-Kyushu municipal assembly (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A local legislator in southern Japan said she received death threats after inviting a vocal critic of the Abe administration to address a lecture on children and education.

Satoko Murakami, a member of the Kita-Kyushu municipal assembly, disclosed May 8 she had received a number of intimidating and threatening letters and online posts in connection with her invitation to Kihei Maekawa, a former administrative vice education minister.

Maekawa has accused the administration of waging a smear campaign against him over his disclosures in a high-profile scandal involving the Kake Educational Institution, which is run by a close friend of the prime minister.

One message to Murakami, 52, said, “Drop dead," and another said, “I’ll put a curse on your family.”

The lecture was held April 14 in Kita-Kyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Police are investigating the matter.

Murakami said she received a stream of slanderous posts immediately after the lecture, titled "Let's talk together about the future of education and children." It was jointly hosted by citizens groups and other entities.

Her office also received calls of complaint, such as, “Why did you invite Maekawa?”

Murakami, an independent local assembly member, filed a damage report to Yahata-Nishi Police Station on April 29.

On May 2, a letter and a postcard, the latter penned in red, arrived at her office telling her to drop dead and threatening to put a curse on her family.

She calls the threats "despicable" and "absolutely unacceptable."

Maekawa and Ken Terawaki, former deputy director-general of the Lifelong Policy Bureau at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, both gave keynote speeches.

Afterward, the two men engaged in a discussion whose topics included the sale of state-owned land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen and the tampering of official Finance Ministry documents concerning the eye-popping discount given for the site in Osaka Prefecture.

Hiroaki Hattori, a lawyer and a representative of the executive committee that organized the lecture, labeled the threatening behavior as "utterly deviant" and criminal acts that are "far beyond the range of protest or objection over assembly members’ political activities.”

The Kita-Kyushu board of education, which lent its support to the lecture, received 30 or so irate calls and online posts severely criticizing the talk.

The Kita-Kyushu municipal assembly office has apparently received as many as 10 calls daily since late April questioning Murakami’s character, some of them taking issue with her position as a member of the municipal assembly.

Murakami was first elected to the assembly in January 2017 with the backing of the Social Democratic Party and other parties.