The Tokyo District Court said Wednesday it will call former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and two Liberal Democratic Party heavyweights to testify in a trial over a political fund scandal involving a major LDP faction Hashimoto led when the funds were received.
Hiromu Nonaka, a former LDP secretary general, and Mikio Aoki, head of the LDP’s caucus in the House of Councilors, will also be summoned to testify in the trial of former Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka, 73, who has been charged with hiding a 100 million yen donation to the faction from the Japan Dental Association in violation of the Political Funds Control Law.
Presiding Judge Masaaki Kawaguchi accepted the request of Muraoka’s defense lawyers to summon the three.
It is unusual for a former prime minister to appear in court as a witness. Hashimoto, 68, is expected to testify on Sept. 16.
Prosecutors earlier gave up charging the trio, citing lack of evidence.
Two former executives of the Japan Dental Association admitted submitting a political funds report to the government in 2001 without declaring the 100 million yen donation to the then Hashimoto faction, also in violation of the Political Funds Control Law. The money was reportedly handed to Hashimoto as a check.
Prosecutors said an executive of the association directly gave Hashimoto an envelop containing a check for 100 million yen in July 2001 at a Tokyo restaurant while Aoki and Nonaka were present.
Nonaka and Aoki also attended a meeting with Muraoka in March 2002 in which they decided not to declare the donation in the report, the prosecutors said earlier.
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