• Kyodo News


Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka did not declare a 1 million yen contribution he received from a group linked to an investment scam last December, he admitted Friday.

Matsuoka claimed at a news conference that he was not able to confirm the payment from the World Business Expert Forum, in the form of ticket purchases for a fundraising party for him, before his fund management body corrected its political funds report for 2005 Tuesday and mentioned the money.

The Political Funds Control Law requires the declaration of the donor’s name and the amount contributed, in annual fund reports if party ticket purchases exceed 200,000 yen.

The minister denied any intention to hide the income because of the scandal, claiming the political funds report was compiled in late March, well before the group was raided by the police in June in connection with a case of investment law violation.

Matsuoka, a House of Representatives member from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party who has been elected to the lower house six times, gained a Cabinet post for the first time Tuesday.

WBEF, an organization associated with business consultancy FAC Co., was raided in June along with FAC, which is suspected of illegally collecting about 13 billion yen from some 8,000 investors.

WBEF also bought party tickets for LDP lawmaker Hirohide Uozumi in April and May.

Uozumi is suspected of pressuring the government to certify WBEF as a nonprofit organization.

WBEF’s December application with the Cabinet Office for NPO status was rejected in June.

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