The Metropolitan Police Department has told the Tokyo District Court that it will not provide the court with information on whether Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori was caught in a brothel more than 40 years ago, police sources said Wednesday.

The MPD told the court that police maintain criminal records only for the purpose of investigating criminal cases, the sources said.

The court in August asked the MPD to search for any documents that would prove Mori’s alleged detention by police after the prime minister filed a libel suit against the monthly magazine Uwasa no Shinso (Truth of the Rumor), which reported the claim in its June edition.

Judge Koichi Shinano, who presided over the previous hearing Aug. 22, made the request, saying the allegation concerns the public interest.

Lawyers for Mori said they regretted the court’s decision, adding that whether the prime minister was detained by police as the magazine alleges is “a purely private issue.”

“The MPD is just chickening out on this. I think we should interpret this (development) as a result of political pressure,” said Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the main opposition party, Democratic Party of Japan.

“If (Mori) was innocent, (the police) could have just said he is innocent. The fact that they cannot say anything clearly already means that the police have practically admitted Mori’s doings,” he said.

Meanwhile, DPJ Secretary General Naoto Kan told reporters at the Diet that the party will investigate the issue through deliberations at the upcoming extraordinary Diet session, which is expected to begin Sept. 21.

The magazine article said Mori was detained by police in 1958, while he was a 20-year-old student at Waseda University in Tokyo, on suspicion of violating an antiprostitution ordinance.

Mori, 63, said the story is “groundless” and filed the suit in May, demanding the magazine take out advertisements apologizing for the article and pay him 10 million yen in compensation.

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