A former private secretary of LDP lawmaker Koki Kobayashi made inquiries to the Justice Ministry at the request of a man involved in an illegal immigrant worker scam, sources close to the case said Wednesday.

The former secretary asked the ministry about immigration procedures at the request of Kazunori Midorikawa, a former executive who has been indicted on charges of helping Chinese women work in Japanese hotels illegally, the sources said.

Midorikawa, 58, allegedly helped some 220 Chinese women enter Japan on interpreter visas, although they could speak little Japanese. He arranged for them to work as dishwashers and in similar jobs in 35 places in 13 prefectures from January 2000 to last month, according to the sources.

He reportedly recruited them through a company in Shenyang.

When he was pushing his project to hotel industry people in April, Midorikawa allegedly handed out Kobayashi’s name card, saying he was “a politician who is familiar with our industry,” the sources said.

According to the sources, the former secretary of the Lower House member made the inquiry to the ministry at the beginning of the scheme.

They said that Kobayashi held an explanatory meeting for the hotel industry people at his office and also visited Shenyang in September.

According to a government report on political funds received by Diet members, Midorikawa donated 120,000 yen in 1999 to an organization collecting political funds for Kobayashi.

Kobayashi’s office declined to comment, saying it could not contact the lawmaker, who is currently abroad.

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