Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Kunio Hatoyama, the younger brother of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, tendered his resignation Friday from all party posts over the fundraising scandal involving the prominent political family.
The move apparently reflects concerns within the main opposition party that it would have trouble attacking the prime minister over the same funding scandal, in which both brothers allegedly received huge amounts of money from their mother in the form of tax-free loans.
Kunio Hatoyama’s move came days after the former internal affairs and communications minister admitted to having received political funds from his mother and offered to pay taxes on them.
“No matter how well I had acted and even though I didn’t know about (the donations), it will cause trouble for the party if people mistrusted me over money,” Hatoyama told reporters. “So, I tendered my resignation.
Hatoyama, chairman of the party’s Political Ethics Hearing Committee, submitted his resignation letter to LDP Secretary General Tadamori Oshima. But Oshima stopped short of accepting his resignation because LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki was away from Tokyo.
About his brother Yukio Hatoyama, the younger Hatoyama said: “Even though we are brothers, we have different personalities.
“In his case, it has developed into a (criminal) case, so I suppose he wants to watch what the prosecutors will decide and how the case will develop.”
The other positions from which Hatoyama has offered to step down are vice chairman of the LDP Joint Plenary Meeting of Party Members of Both Houses of the Diet and member of the party’s General Council.
On Tuesday, Hatoyama said he would pay taxes “on the highest amount” of donations that the people involved in the case claim to have received on his behalf, saying, “It would be hard for people to understand as a matter of common sense if I argued that it was an act of lending money between a parent and a child.”
Sources familiar with the investigation into the case say Hatoyama received some of the ¥3.6 billion drawn from bank accounts registered in his mother’s name over six years through 2008.
The flow of funds to the two brothers apparently commenced after Yukio Hatoyama’s former secretary, who was in charge of the accounting for his political funding body, requested around 2002 that donations be made from an organization involving the mother, the sources said.