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Key rightist tapped Tokushukai for Inose cash

Issuikai leader says he was go-between for candidate, hospital group

JIJI

Mitsuhiro Kimura, leader of the right-wing political group Issuikai, said he asked the Tokushukai hospital group to extend financial assistance to Naoki Inose before he was elected governor of Tokyo last December.

Inose has acknowledged that he received ¥50 million from the scandal-tainted group last November but claims it was personal loan and not election campaign funds.

Kimura acted as an intermediary to arrange a meeting between Torao Tokuda, the founder and then head of Tokushukai, and Inose, who was then a vice governor.

Kimura said Sunday that after their meeting, he phoned Takeshi Tokuda, a son of Torao and a Lower House member of the Liberal Democratic Party, and told him that running a campaign takes a lot of money and asked him to support Inose.

According to Kimura, the lawmaker and his father worked out the details, including the amount of money.

Inose and Torao Tokuda met at a hospital in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Nov. 6 last year, Kimura said. Kimura, who knew both Inose and Tokuda, suggested after Inose decided to run for governor that he should meet Tokuda, Kimura said.

Tokuda’s wife joined the meeting, and Inose and Tokuda just exchanged greetings and talked about matters unrelated to money, according to Kimura.

Kimura said he might have mentioned during his phone chat with Tokuda’s son after the two sides’ meeting that ¥100 million may be adequate in light of Inose’s possible defeat.

Kimura said he heard that lawmaker Tokuda and his father decided on the actual amount and that Tokushukai handed over ¥50 million to Inose as a personal loan.

Asked about a news report that Inose requested ¥100 million, Kimura said, “No way.”

Inose received ¥50 million from lawmaker Tokuda in mid-November last year but returned the money in late September this year after Tokushukai was raided by Tokyo prosecutors on suspicion of illegal electioneering for Tokuda in the Lower House election, also held last December.