Hatoyama’s donors scrutinized

Prosecutors take hard look at falsified fundraising statements; no charges planned yet

Kyodo News

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s campaign fund management body has voluntarily provided prosecutors its account ledgers for at least the five years to 2008 in connection with false statements in its fundraising reports, sources said.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office, which has begun questioning people falsely reported by the body as making donations, plans to decide whether to pursue the case in court by the end of this year, the sources said.

“The prime minister wanted to explain the situation to the public himself, but he will refrain from doing so because it could influence the investigation. We will have to wait for the outcome of the investigation,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said at a news conference Monday.

“The prime minister has already explained everything he knows, and he will continue to cooperate with the investigation,” Hirano said.

Hatoyama admitted during a news conference June 30 that false entries related to donations from about 90 people, totaling around ¥21.77 million, were included in political fundraising reports from 2005 to 2008. He blamed a former secretary for the false statements.

The lists included names of dead people and others who have denied providing any funds.

Hatoyama’s fund management body has since corrected the reports but in the process was found to have deleted the names of some real donors.

Hatoyama has said that although the body reported the false names, it did receive the money in question. The prosecutors are trying to confirm where the money came from, what it was used for and why the false statements were made.

In addition, they will investigate roughly ¥250 million in donations from undisclosed individuals between 2003 and 2008, as the sum is unusually high.

The issue came to light after Hatoyama became president of the Democratic Party of Japan in May and before the DPJ took the reins of government in September.