JDA donated 40 million yen to lawmakers

The scandal-hit Japan Dental Association donated a total 40 million yen to five lawmakers of the Liberal Democratic Party in November 2001 through the party’s political fund management body, investigative sources said Tuesday.

Hirotake Uchida, 63, a former senior official of the JDA, has told prosecutors that the dental group’s political arm donated 10 million yen each to three LDP lawmakers and 5 million yen each to two other lawmakers through Kokumin Seiji Kyokai, the LDP arm, the sources said.

The amount of the donation and the lawmakers’ names were recorded in the JDA’s internal records, and the LDP’s fund management body issued receipts for the donation, they said.

Uchida and former JDA Chairman Sadao Usuda, 73, were served with fresh arrest warrants Monday over suspected hidden donations to the LDP’s largest faction, headed until recently by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, in violation of the Political Funds Control Law. Uchida was earlier indicted on separate bribery charges.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office sought to press charges against Tsutomu Sato, one of the five LDP lawmakers, on suspicion of bribe-taking because he was serving as a Diet secretary at the health ministry at that time, the sources said.

But prosecutors decided not to make the move, partly because the purpose of the donation was unclear, they said. Sato declined to comment on the case. The four other lawmakers, who were not directly involved in medical policy at that time, denied having received the money.

Heavyweights fingered

Staff report

Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers filed an accusation with prosecutors Tuesday against two Liberal Democratic Party heavyweights in connection with a political donation scandal involving the Japan Dental Association.

House of Representatives member Hisayasu Nagata and two others have accused Mikio Aoki, chairman of the LDP’s Upper House caucus, and Hiromu Nonaka, a former LDP secretary general, of conspiring to not declare a 100 million yen donation from the political arm of the dentists’ group.

The three filed a similar accusation against former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto late last month.

According to the bill of indictment, the three top executives of the largest LDP faction, headed until recently by Hashimoto, met with former JDA Chairman Sadao Usuda in July 2001 and received a check for 100 million yen.

Toshiyuki Takigawa, then the faction’s treasurer, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of violating the Political Funds Control Law for not listing the 100 million yen donation in the group’s 2001 political funds report.