Tokyo assembly member denies payoffs from Tomobe

Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member Hideo Arato on June 6 flatly denied allegations that he received 100 million yen from aides of arrested Upper House member Tatsuo Tomobe and helped him buy a seat in the chamber.

Tomobe is now on trial, accused of committing massive fraud. “I never received money from aides of Upper House member Tatsuo Tomobe,” Arato, 40, said in unsworn testimony before the House of Representatives Budget Committee. Arato, a former Shinshinto member, was summoned to testify on his role in a scandal involving Orange Kyosai Kumiai, a political organization that posed as mutual aid society.

Tomobe is suspected of offering money swindled from Orange Kyosai depositors to Shinshinto officials to obtain a favored ranking in the party’s list of candidates for a proportional representation constituency in the July 1995 Upper House election. Tomobe, along with his son, Momoo, his wife, Mikiko, and other top Orange Kyosai executives, were arrested in January.