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Hospital source disputes Inose’s loan story

Tokyo governor allegedly tried to milk ¥100 million from scandal-hit Tokushukai

Kyodo

Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose sought a ¥100 million donation before last year’s gubernatorial election from the hospital organization currently at the center of a major fraud scandal, a source close to the group said, challenging the governor’s claim that he never asked for that amount.

At a news conference Friday, Inose admitted he borrowed ¥50 million from the Tokushukai hospital and medical facilities chain.

On Saturday, he denied asking Tokushukai for ¥100 million, saying, “I did not say anything about the amount of money.”

But the source said later Saturday there is a written record of a phone conversation between House of Representatives politician Takeshi Tokuda and his father, Torao Tokuda, the former head of Tokushukai, in which the son says Inose asked for ¥100 million for his campaign war chest before the gubernatorial poll last December.

The ¥50 million Inose has admitted borrowing was not put into his political funds report for the campaign. The Public Offices Election Law sets a penalty of up to three years in prison or a maximum fine of ¥500,000 for filing false reports with electoral management committees.

Inose told Friday’s news conference that the money was a personal “loan” and not a campaign donation. He also said the cash was returned in September via one of his secretaries.

The source says that Tokuda, a 42-year-old member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, on Nov. 19 last year phoned his father, who was being treated at a Tokushukai hospitals in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture. During the chat, Tokuda quoted Inose as saying: “I want ¥100 million. I will return (it) if there is some left.”

The older Tokuda, 75, then agreed to a sum of ¥50 million.

The record also says Tokuda sought his father’s advice on whether the money should be handed over to Inose at a building for Diet members.