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Former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka on Tuesday denied misappropriating her secretaries’ salaries in testimony before the Liberal Democratic Party’s ethics committee.

On Monday, Tanaka submitted a written explanation to the committee along with a receipt documenting the salary of one of her government-paid secretaries. Parts of the receipt were blackened out, rendering sections unreadable, according to committee chairman Nobuyuki Hanashi.

The panel told Tanaka a receipt was not enough to clear suspicions against her and asked her to submit by noon Thursday sufficient documentation outlining her public secretaries’ salaries over the five years beginning with 1993, when she was first elected to the Lower House.

The committee, an LDP body empowered to impose punishment on its members, is expected to decide by as early as Friday whether to punish Tanaka.

It has been reported Tanaka misused funds earmarked as salaries for her aides.

Tanaka later gave an informal explanation to members of the party’s ethics hearing committee over the matter. However, the party asked her to submit concrete evidence to support her allegations.

Tanaka’s public secretaries were also employees of Echigo Kotsu Co., a local bus service based in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, run by Tanaka’s family.

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