The Democratic Party of Japan hopes to pick a new Diet affairs chief soon because it believes the uproar over the e-mail allegation has been settled with the apology by lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata and executives of the main opposition party, members said Wednesday.
But Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Tsutomu Takebe, the secretary general of his Liberal Democratic Party, are not yet set to put to rest the issue over the now admitted bogus e-mail the DPJ raised in the Diet last month to show shady financial links between Livedoor Co. founder Takafumi Horie and Takebe.
Yoshihiko Noda, whose resignation as the DPJ’s Diet affairs chief was approved Tuesday, again apologized at a meeting of executives for disrupting the Diet by giving party colleague Nagata the go-ahead to read the e-mail that was alleged to have been sent from Horie instructing staff to transfer 30 million yen to Takebe’s son.
“I failed to sufficiently check the questions” that Nagata was to ask at a Diet session over the e-mail allegation, and “I made a misjudgment,” Noda reportedly told the meeting. “I again have to deeply apologize to LDP Secretary General Takebe and his second son for pursuing the issue in a rude manner.”
The DPJ issued a statement Tuesday saying it determined the e-mail Nagata cited as evidence of his allegation was faked.
Nagata also apologized Tuesday in a news conference for disrupting the Diet with an allegation that had not been sufficiently investigated and for the delay in explaining the matter, while apologizing to Takebe and his son. However, he said the probe into the alleged funds transfer would continue.
Takebe and other LDP executives, including Koizumi, have lashed out at Nagata for his failure to declare the e-mail is fake, despite the apologies by him and the party executives, including DPJ chief Seiji Maehara.
“Judging from (Nagata’s) news conference, it appears that Nagata does not understand the seriousness of what he has said or how he has behaved,” Koizumi said, noting it will take more time to settle the issue.
Nagata said Tuesday he would accept responsibility and the consequences of his actions, including disciplinary measures by the Diet.
Koizumi said it is up to the House of Representatives Steering Committee to discuss possible discipline.
Executives of the LDP and its ruling coalition partner, New Komeito, agreed the matter of whether to refer Nagata to a Lower House disciplinary panel will be discussed at a steering committee meeting Thursday.
Yoshitaka Murata, chief deputy chairman of the LDP Diet Affairs Committee, said Nagata’s views about the authenticity of the e-mail are different from those of DPJ executives, and details about disciplinary action will be decided after listening to explanations by the DPJ.
The DPJ imposed on Nagata its punishment by suspending his membership for half a year, but he was not asked to give up his Lower House seat.
The DPJ also formally withdrew its demand that the Diet invoke its investigative powers to look into a bank account that the party had claimed was involved in the alleged money deal.
Nagata showed a copy of the e-mail to a Lower House committee Feb. 16. Dated 3:21 p.m., Aug. 26, 2005, the note read, “Please urgently remit 30 million yen by the morning of Aug. 29” as election consultancy fees, and had Horie’s surname at the end.
DPJ sources have said the sender and recipient of the e-mail are the same person — a freelance journalist who is an informant for Nagata.
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