• Kyodo

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Prosecutors in Tokyo have officially accepted a written complaint about fraud allegedly committed by former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka from a political group in Nara Prefecture, a representative of the group said Tuesday.

Kiyoshi Tsujiyama, 57, who submitted the complaint last Wednesday, said the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office notified him that it has been received.

Earlier this month, weekly magazines Shukan Bunshun and Shukan Shincho reported that Tanaka misused tax money intended for the salaries of her government-paid aides. Tanaka has denied the allegations.

The two publications also said the public secretaries, who Tanaka hired around 1998, were employees of the Tanaka family company Echigo Kotsu Co., which operates a local bus service in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture.

In the complaint, Tsujiyama said Tanaka swindled the government out of at least 5.89 million yen in the form of salaries to one of her secretaries by having Echigo Kotsu shoulder payment for the aide in 1997.

Earlier in the day, a media report said Tanaka, a member of the House of Representatives, registered one of her private secretaries as a government-paid secretary without the secretary’s knowledge and failed to pay him the government salary.

The media report said the man worked for Tanaka as a private secretary on loan from another company in Nagaoka affiliated with the Tanaka family.

The man said he received a salary from the Nagaoka company but has no recollection of receiving a salary as a government-paid secretary, according to the report.

The man, a Niigata Prefecture native who now works for a separate company in Nagaoka, was one of about 24 or 25 secretaries sent by Tanaka family companies to help her since she was elected to the Lower House in 1993, it said.

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