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Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Muneo Suzuki purchased a new house in Tokyo’s Minato Ward last June while serving as chief of the Hokkaido and Okinawa Development agencies, despite an informal agreement that serving ministers would refrain from such purchases, it was learned Tuesday.

Speaking at a morning news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka confirmed media reports that Suzuki sold his old house in Nerima Ward and purchased the new one in Aoyama, Minato Ward. “I know about the media reports and I have already received a report to that effect from Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Suzuki himself,” Nonaka said.

Under an informal agreement, state ministers and vice ministers are to refrain from real estate and stock transactions while in office in order to avoid any suspicion of having used their influence to get a better deal.

Both the previous and current Cabinets made such an agreement upon inauguration. Nonaka, however, said he does not believe Suzuki’s case contradicts the self-restraint agreement.

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