Junichi Izui, an oil wholesaler on trial for alleged income tax evasion and fraud, said Sept. 8 he provided 278 million yen to six Diet members of the Liberal Democratic Party, including Taku Yamasaki, chairman of the LDP’s Policy Affairs Research Council.
Of the total, 200 million yen went to the late Michio Watanabe, head of a faction within the ruling party who once served as deputy prime minister and foreign minister. Izui said he gave the 200 million yen to Watanabe over three occasions between October 1991 and July 1993.
The 60-year-old Izui, freed on bail, made the revelations during a news conference in Tokyo. The Osaka-based oil dealer is suspected of failing to declare part of 6 billion yen he allegedly received from Mitsubishi Oil Co. and of spending large sums of money to buy political influence.
Izui said he gave money also to Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the LDP’s Executive Council; Keizo Obuchi, former vice LDP president who is expected to be appointed foreign minister in the forthcoming administration of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto; former Posts and Telecommunications Minister Katsutsugu Sekiya; and former Finance Minister Yoshiro Hayashi. Izui said he delivered about 78 million yen to Yamazaki in October 1991; 10 million yen to Mori; 5 million yen to Obuchi; 5 million yen to Sekiya; and 1 million yen to Hayashi.
Hashimoto later told reporters that it is uncertain whether media reports of the dubious donations from Izui will affect nominations for his new Cabinet and LDP executive lineup. Such influence “depends on the contents of the reports,” he said. “I have read some of the reports and the names of the Diet members have not been disclosed,” he told reporters.