Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto indicated Sept. 9 that there may be lingering ethical concerns over donations allegedly made to six Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers by an oil wholesaler now on trial for fraud and tax evasion.

Hashimoto was commenting on allegations made Sept. 8 by Junichi Izui that he provided 278 million yen to the six LDP lawmakers, who include Taku Yamasaki, chairman of the LDP’s Policy Affairs Research Council. “The (Izui case) has two aspects,” Hashimoto told reporters. “If the investigations by judicial authorities are over, that’s fine. But there is also a political aspect to the case, and this is a different matter.” However, the prime minister refused to say whether he would talk to Yamasaki over the matter.

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