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The Democratic Party of Japan placed an ad in six newspapers Wednesday to apologize for falsely claiming that scandal-tainted Livedoor Co. sent illicit money to a son of Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe.

The apology was issued in the names of the nation’s main opposition force and House of Representatives lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata, who was stripped of his party membership after the allegations, made in the Diet in February, were proved false.

Nagata and the DPJ, at Diet panel sessions and through the media, “claimed as if Livedoor Co. sent 30 million yen to a bank account of the second son of Mr. Tsutomu Takebe and Livedoor funds were therefore funneled to Secretary General Takebe’s side, but they were entirely groundless statements,” the apology reads.

“We sincerely apologize to the second son of Mr. Tsutomu Takebe and people concerned at a company managed by him for significantly harming their honor,” it says.

Takebe’s son had demanded apologies in five newspapers circulated nationwide plus the Hokkaido Shimbun, a regional daily, saying his reputation was seriously damaged and his businesses suffered from the remarks prompted by the fake e-mail.

Takebe, a member of the Lower House, was elected from Hokkaido.

Nagata made the allegations during a Budget Committee meeting in the Diet after obtaining what he claimed was a “secret” e-mail that indicated Livedoor founder Takafumi Horie had ordered the remittance of 30 million yen to Takebe’s son.

The ad said the party would request that any defamatory statements made by Nagata about the parties concerned be deleted from the Diet minutes.

Meanwhile, Kozo Watanabe, head of the DPJ’s Diet Affairs Committee, repeated the party’s call for Nagata, now an independent, to quit the Lower House.

“Since he said he loves the DPJ, I believe he will make good on his word when the result of (deliberations in) the Lower House Discipline Committee (on his fate) comes out,” Watanabe said on a TBS program. He suggested Nagata leave the Diet to help save the party’s reputation.

Committee members from the LDP-led ruling coalition are studying the option of suspending Nagata from the Diet for 30 days, coalition sources said. Suspension is the second-heaviest punishment after expulsion.

Horie unsuccessfully ran against LDP rebel Shizuka Kamei in the Sept. 11 general election with backing by Takebe and other LDP lawmakers.

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