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Agriculture minister Tadamori Oshima filed a lawsuit Thursday against the publisher of a weekly magazine demanding 10 million yen in damages and a published apology over an article that alleged he worked inappropriately for the construction of a vocational school.

Oshima filed the suit with the Tokyo District Court against Bungei Shunju, which publishes Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine, over the article in the magazine’s Feb. 6 edition.

The article said Oshima helped obtain 400 million yen in government subsidies for an educational institute in Aomori Prefecture for construction of a medical technology vocational school in the town of Gonohe near his hometown of Hachinohe.

Oshima told a news conference, “The magazine deviated from its duty as a news organization by publishing an article that said the school has been constructed based on my illegal acts and that I am trying to cover up the scandal.”

The magazine also reported in October that one of Oshima’s secretaries accepted bribes in the form of kickbacks from construction companies and brokers in return for helping them get contracts for public works projects in Aomori Prefecture.

Oshima said he is currently consulting with his lawyer about possibly filing a suit over the article about the secretary as well.

Seigo Kimata, editor in chief of the magazine, said he has “absolute confidence” in the credibility of the article.

Oshima, appointed minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in a Cabinet reshuffle last September, is a House of Representatives member from Aomori’s No. 3 constituency.

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