DPJ chief reveals he broke law

Katsuya Okada, president of the Democratic Party of Japan, said Tuesday he illegally served as an executive of a firm run by his family while working as a government bureaucrat between 1979 and 1986.

Okada told a news conference that he violated the National Civil Service Law between July 1979 to April 1986 by serving on the board of a real estate company run by his family while simultaneously working as an official of the then Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

The law bans public servants from concurrently holding a position at a private-sector company.

The company, Okada Kosan, is based in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture. It was set up by his father, Takuya Okada, founder of the Jusco supermarket chain.

Okada said he first learned of the ban through a newspaper article, which prompted him to quit.

“As a person holding a responsible position, I’d like to apologize,” Okada said.

He said he received no wages from the company during that period.

Okada said he decided to come clean about the matter after a weekly magazine began making inquiries about it.

Okada was a career bureaucrat at the trade ministry until shortly before he was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1990.

Koizumi issue skirted

The government said Tuesday it is difficult to judge whether Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi violated a law by joining the employee pension system while not actually working for a company in the 1970s.

The government’s statement was in response to written questions from Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Akira Uchiyama.