Senior Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers said Tuesday the DPJ could not prove the credibility of an e-mail allegedly sent by Livedoor Co. founder Takafumi Horie seeking a 30 million yen transfer to a son of Tsutomu Takebe, the Liberal Democratic Party secretary general.

DPJ President Seiji Maehara later dodged a reporter’s question when asked how he would take responsibility for raising the e-mail issue if it proved to be fabricated, only saying his party will continue efforts to promote probes into the scandal.

But he also claimed the DPJ may reveal new information about Horie’s links to Takebe, without elaborating.

“Livedoor’s case is a deep-rooted issue. At the core of the issue are links with LDP Secretary General Takebe,” Maehara told reporters. “Our party is scrutinizing fresh information.”

Horie ran unsuccessfully in the Sept. 11 general election for the House of Representatives as an independent with Takebe’s blessing.

With the main opposition party effectively admitting defeat in the battle that one of its own lawmakers started, the DPJ now plans to shift the focus from the credibility of the e-mail to checking related bank accounts.

The LDP and its junior partner, New Komeito, are set to go on the offensive, accusing the DPJ of bringing the e-mail before the Diet without collaborating material.

In response to the coalition’s demand for evidence, the DPJ launched a probe into the credibility of a freelance journalist who produced the e-mail, checking into the format and contents, the DPJ leaders said.

The party’s probe failed to find out the e-mail addresses of the sender and the recipient. Some of the identifying information of the software used to produce the e-mail also could not be determined.

One senior DPJ lawmaker said doubts about the e-mail’s authenticity are unavoidable at this point.

The lawmaker said the DPJ will now cease looking into the e-mail’s credibility and instead put its energy into pursuing the related bank accounts.

Another senior DPJ lawmaker said only that Hisayasu Nagata, the DPJ member in the House of Representatives who took up the e-mail issue at a Feb. 16 budget committee session, believes it is authentic.

Nagata claimed that Horie had instructed in a company e-mail that 30 million yen be sent to Takebe’s son as a fee for electoral consultancy work.

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