• Kyodo News


Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura on Sunday identified the senior government official who made a controversial remark concerning a political funds scandal involving Nishimatsu Construction Co. as Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Iwao Uruma, a former top police bureaucrat.

Uruma, speaking as an unidentified “senior government official,” told reporters Thursday that the political fund scandal “would not spill over to lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.”

The remark deepened speculation that the probe into the case, which has netted an aide of Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa, may be politically motivated as the nation gears up for a Lower House general election in which the LDP is widely seen as fighting a losing battle.

Uruma, former chief of the National Police Agency, made the remark after Ozawa’s secretary, Takanori Okubo, was arrested by prosecutors on suspicion of taking illegal corporate donations from two political organizations related to the construction firm.

While revealing Uruma’s name on Sunday TV talk shows, Kawamura also said he has issued a strict warning to Uruma for making a “quite inappropriate” remark.

Kawamura, the top government spokesman, said he intends to have Uruma explain his comment at a news conference Monday, while the DPJ plans to demand that Uruma appear before a Diet committee, also Monday.

In explaining the remark to Kawamura, Uruma was quoted as saying, “I have never said definitely that investigations would not spill over to specific parties and lawmakers, and I have never explained prospects for investigations.”

Uruma also said he did not have any information on the prosecutors’ probe, according to the top spokesman.

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