Raids launched over dentist funds

Prosecutors on Saturday raided the Tokyo home of former Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka and other places over a political donation scandal involving the Liberal Democratic Party’s largest faction and a dentists group, according to sources familiar with the case.

Muraoka, 73, is suspected of violating the Political Funds Control Law over an undeclared 100 million yen political donation the faction received from the Japan Dental Association in 2001, the sources said.

Muraoka was a leading figure of the LDP’s largest faction, which until recently was headed by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. Muraoka is believed to have been in charge of handling funds for the faction.

The former top government spokesman, elected nine times to the House of Representatives, was defeated in the 2003 general election.

The sources said prosecutors have already questioned Muraoka in connection with the donation.

Earlier, Muraoka denied his involvement, telling Kyodo News, “I have nothing to do with it.”

On Sept. 18, Tokyo prosecutors indicted Toshiyuki Takigawa, 55, an accountant of the faction, on charges of failing to report the 100 million yen political donation by the association in July 2001 to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry in violation of the Political Funds Control Law.

The prosecutors questioned Hashimoto on Sept. 7 over the donation. He reportedly denied any wrongdoing.