Chief Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa said Wednesday he will not resign over an allegedly false statement made to the Diet about his reported dubious links with a rightist figure.
Nakagawa also said he will consider suing the weekly magazine that reported in its latest edition about his alleged drug use in the past.
Both allegations were reported in the latest edition of Focus, which hit newsstands Wednesday. Focus carried an undated photo showing Nakagawa and a man — identified only as a senior member of a rightist group — meeting at a party. The person is believed to be a member of the group Nihon Seinensha.
“I cannot recall this person however hard I try,” Nakagawa told a regular news conference, adding he has seen a tremendous number of people during his long political career. “Even if (the photo) is real, it does not mean I have relations or connections with him.”
In the Lower House Budget Committee on Sept. 28, Nakagawa said in response to a question from a lawmaker from the Democratic Party of Japan that he does “not directly know” the rightist.
On Tuesday, Toshio Ogawa, another DPJ member, told reporters that Nakagawa should resign over what he called a false statement.
Nakagawa said Wednesday, “I am assigned to a very important job, and I will fulfill my responsibility as a state minister.”
The rightist group in question once set up a beacon on one of the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the South China Sea, rekindling a simmering territorial row involving Japan, China and Taiwan.
The rightist group sent a videotape featuring images of the Senkaku Islands to Nakagawa this summer and his office mailed a thank-you letter to the group.
In an Oct. 4 news conference, Nakagawa claimed he had not seen the videotape and said the thank-you letter was sent by his secretary only as a “token of courtesy.”
Nakagawa said he will consider suing the magazine over its allegations of illegal acts, including drug abuse.
Donation via loophole
MAEBASHI, Gunma Pref. (Kyodo) Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Genichiro Sata received 8 million yen in political donations in 1999 from a firm headed by his father by circumventing the law and channeling the cash through unregulated political groups, according to a report released Wednesday.
Sata, a 47-year-old House of Representatives member elected from Gunma Prefecture, reported the transaction to the Gunma Prefectural Public Election Commission, which issued the political funds report for 1999.
His personal political fund management body got the 8 million yen as donations from an LDP chapter that shares the same Maebashi office as his support group.
The money was donated to the chapter by a construction firm owned by Sata’s father, the report says.
The political fund law set the ceiling for corporate contributions to individual politicians at 500,000 yen a year until 1999 and bans such donations from this year.
But it contains no stipulations about individual politicians receiving corporate money through political organizations, leaving a loophole that analysts say is likely to be abused by politicians.
The LDP chapter reportedly incurred no personnel or other overhead costs in 1999.
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.