National

Prosecutors decide not to charge Koga over political donations

Kyodo

Prosecutors will not charge Junichiro Koga, an independent lawmaker in the House of Representatives, with violating the political funds law in connection with donations he received from a foreign national, prosecution sources said Monday.

Police said last month they have turned Koga’s case over to prosecutors, but he was not charged due to insufficient evidence, the sources said.

Koga has said he believed the man, a second-generation South Korean resident of Japan, had Japanese citizenship, police sources said earlier.

Two of Koga’s political fund-managing organizations received a combined 3 million yen in 2001 from the man, who runs a chain of pachinko parlors in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Koga was first elected in November from the No. 2 district in Fukuoka Prefecture on the Democratic Party of Japan ticket.

The Political Funds Control Law bans political donations from foreign individuals or organizations to prevent foreign influence in politics and elections.

Police have also been investigating Koga on suspected fraud over his academic background, which would violate the Public Offices Election Law.

Koga claimed he graduated from Pepperdine University in California when he ran for and won his Lower House seat.

He was unable to prove it and the university said he took courses there but failed to earn enough credits to graduate.

Koga made further academic claims involving other universities that also turned out to be untrue.

The issue prompted the DPJ to expel Koga in January. But he has stayed on as a lawmaker.

Prosecutors and police went to the United States in late July to check the records of enrollment at universities and graduate schools over allegations that Koga and two other lawmakers had submitted false academic records.

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