Lower House lawmaker Yojiro Nakajima, served a fresh arrest warrant Thursday for alleged vote-buying, has admitted providing about 20 million yen to his supporters during the 1996 election campaign but denies he meant to ask them to buy votes for him, investigation sources said Friday.
Meanwhile, the sources said that when Nakajima, 39, a former Liberal Democratic Party member, was arrested late last month on suspicion of misappropriating public political subsidies, prosecutors seized several million yen in cash at his home in Tokyo.
Investigators believe Nakajima kept the money as a slush fund, and plan to interrogate him about where the cash came from, the sources said.
There are suspicions that part of the money used by Nakajima in the alleged vote-buying may have come from Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. through illicit channels.
Prosecutors Thursday raided the automaker’s headquarters in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward for evidence, and also searched the firm’s Gunma and Tochigi factories Friday.
On Thursday, Yukio Arai, 51, a member of the city assembly of Ota in Nakajima’s hometown prefecture of Gunma, and Kozo Oshio, 72, a senior member of Nakajima’s support group, were arrested on suspicion of receiving 20.2 million yen to carry out illegal acts concerning the House of Representatives election in October 1996.
Investigators allege Oshio received 20 million yen and Arai 200,000 yen in cash to buy votes during Nakajima’s campaign in the Lower House election. Some of the money was also earmarked for rewarding campaigners, they said.
Nakajima asked Arai to use the money to buy votes, investigative sources alleged.
Half of the 20 million yen is believed to have come from one of Nakajima’s fund-managing organizations, with Nakajima covering the rest from the money in his possession, the sources said.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.