Tokyo Gov. Inose changes story on handling Tokushukai cash

Kyodo

Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose said Monday that he canceled a contract in May for a safety deposit box he leased to hold the ¥50 million he received from the Tokushukai hospital group and transferred it to another one, contradicting an earlier explanation.

In intensive deliberations at a committee session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, Inose said he transferred the money from central Tokyo to a place near his home further west after being elected governor in December 2012 so he could return it at any time.

Inose previously said that after receiving the money in November 2012, he put it in a safety deposit box that remained untouched until September, when he returned it to the Tokushukai group.

According to documents submitted to the committee, Inose concluded a contract under his wife’s name to lease the safety deposit box at Hachijuni Bank’s Aoyama Branch in Minato Ward on Nov. 19, 2012, the day before he received the money from House of Representative politician Takeshi Tokuda, son of Torao Tokuda, the former chief of Tokushukai. He then canceled the contract after last using it on May 10.

The governor also swapped his original safety deposit box, which had been under contract since 1990 at the Bank of Yokohama’s Tsukushino Branch in Machida, for a larger one on May 9. Records show he used it the following day.

Inose’s secretary was also found to have used an official metropolitan government vehicle to return the money to Tokushukai in September, after prosecutors opened an investigation into the hospital group over alleged vote-buying in last December’s general election.

He also said the secretary gave back the money on Sept. 26, not Sept. 25 as previously reported, correcting the date.