• Kyodo

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Prosecutors on Friday searched offices of three construction firms in connection with allegedly illegal donations made to the local chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party here during the Nagasaki gubernatorial race held in February 2002.

The Nagasaki District Public Prosecutor’s Office searched seven sites, including offices in the cities of Fukuoka and Nagasaki, of construction companies Tobishima Corp., Wakachiku Construction Co. and Okumura Corp. in connection with the election law violations, sources said.

According to investigations, the three firms are suspected of each donating several million yen in funds between December 2001 and January 2002 that did not appear on donation registries or in the LDP chapter’s books.

The prosecutors searched the LDP’s Nagasaki chapter headquarters in December and have apparently found evidence linking the three to the illicit donations, they said.

Eight other construction firms, including major contractor Shimizu Corp., have already been searched in connection with the case, in which Goro Asada, the former secretary general of the prefectural chapter, is suspected of urging construction firms that have handled public works projects in Nagasaki Prefecture to make political donations to help fund the gubernatorial race.

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