Oshima aide quits over alleged kickbacks

Farm minister Tadamori Oshima said Tuesday that his private secretary has resigned over alleged kickbacks the aide received in return for helping contractors land public works projects.

Hiroshi Miyauchi, who was formerly Oshima’s policy secretary at the ministry, cited exhaustion as his reason for stepping down, Oshima told a news conference after a Cabinet meeting in the morning.

Miyauchi, who had concurrently held both posts, said he has been worn out by numerous magazine interviews and various family matters, Oshima said.

The aide allegedly took kickbacks for introducing local construction companies hungry for public works contracts to local government bodies. Oshima fired Miyauchi as his policy secretary on Oct. 18.

Oshima, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party elected to the Lower House by an Aomori Prefecture constituency, has refused to resign over the allegations leveled at Miyauchi.

Miyauchi took 60 million yen in kickbacks from construction companies and brokers in return for helping them get contracts for public works projects in the prefecture, according to Shukan Bunshun, a weekly magazine.

Oshima was appointed minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the Cabinet shuffle last month.