It was inappropriate for prosecutors not to press charges against former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto over his Liberal Democratic Party faction’s failure in 2001 to report a 100 million yen donation from the scandal-tainted Japan Dental Association, a Tokyo inquest panel said Thursday.
He asked Koizumi, who heads the LDP, if he still believes Hashimoto’s explanation that he probably received the JDA donation but was never involved in falsifying the faction’s political funds report to conceal it. The 100 million yen check was believed handed to Hashimoto at a dinner.
Kawabata was posing a question for Koizumi at the House of Representatives Budget Committee, urging him to demonstrate leadership and have the LDP members clean up their acts. Koizumi was noncommittal.
“I understand that each party has been proceeding with consultations on what (measures) would be needed,” he told the committee. “I’d like the executive board (of the budget committee) and each party to have thorough consultations as to what kind of witness should be summoned.”
Kawabata also urged the committee chairman to have the three as well as Sadao Usuda, JDA chairman, Toshiyuki Takigawa, a former treasurer of the Hashimoto faction, and Hitoshi Motojuku, head of the LDP secretariat, give sworn testimony before the committee.
Last month, Takigawa was handed a suspended 10-month prison term after he admitted conspiring with former Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka — another member of the faction — to falsify the group’s 2001 political funds report. Muraoka, who is being tried separately on charges of violating the Political Funds Control Law, denies playing any role in the falsified report.
The inquest committee argued that the prosecutor’s decision not to indict Hashimoto was unjust, acknowledging that he directly received the 100 million yen and should be held accountable as the faction leader for not reporting the donation.
Aoki and Nonaka should also be held liable as executives of the faction at that time, the committee said in a notice issued Thursday, claiming the two also attended a dinner meeting where Hashimoto received the JDA check.
“It is conceivable that Nonaka conspired with Takigawa, since he was one of the executives Takigawa asked for advice when submitting the false (funds) report,” it said. “Considering that Muroaka stands accused, Nonaka should also be prosecuted.”
Nonaka, once a powerful figure in the faction, retired as a Lower House member in November 2003.
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