Hatoyama apologizes for false reports

Kyodo News

Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Hatoyama admitted Tuesday that his political fund management body used the names of dead people to make false statements in its funding reports, and offered a public apology.

“I deeply regret that such a thing has happened,” he said at a news conference, while denying that he has any intention of stepping down as leader of the main opposition party.

Hatoyama said the incident may have some effect on the upcoming general election, which is widely expected to take place in August, but he added he will try hard to keep the impact to a minimum.

According to Hatoyama, the amount of misstated funds totaled around ¥22 million over four years starting in 2005, but the figure involves no illegal donations.

His management body is believed to have reported in its financial statements contributions by deceased individuals or people who said they never donated to the body.

Hatoyama said he has already dismissed his government-paid secretary who was in charge of accounting for the management body and revised the political funding report, and that he plans to take “appropriate action” against a secretary in charge of policy.

The issue has come to light at a time when the DPJ is trying to shift the focus of its fundraising to individual donations, following a corporate fundraising scandal that emerged in March and led its former leader Ichiro Ozawa to resign.

Lawmakers earn less

The average Diet member earned ¥24.82 million last year, down ¥980,000 from 2008, figures released Tuesday by both chambers showed.

A decline in hefty inheritance income, combined with average drops of ¥190,000 in remuneration from businesses and entities in which they were involved, and ¥240,000 in stock dividends, were major factors behind their first income drop in four years.

Income averaged ¥25.90 million for members of the House of Representatives and ¥22.71 million for those in the House of Councilors, according to the reports.

However, four members of the Lower House managed to earn more than ¥100 million.

Ryu Matsumoto of the Democratic Party of Japan outpaced all members with ¥843.66 million, after selling properties inherited from his father.

Takuji Yanagimoto of the Liberal Democratic Party was second with ¥239.32 million.