• Kyodo News


Prosecutors slapped a fresh criminal charge Friday on a former head of contractor Nishimatsu Construction Co. over the purchase of fundraising party tickets for a Liberal Democratic Party faction led by Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai, the prosecutors said.

Mikio Kunisawa, 70, former Nishimatsu president, is now charged with violating the Political Funds Control Law for using Nishimatsu’s dummy organizations to buy the Nikai faction’s party tickets.

Earlier this month, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office said it would not indict members of the Nikai faction’s political body, citing insufficient evidence. But an 11-member inquest committee later found the prosecutors’ decision unjust and urged them to reinvestigate.

Tsuneta Tanigawa, the deputy chief prosecutor at the Tokyo prosecutor’s office, told reporters Friday that the office had reached its latest decision after reinvestigating the matter in line with the inquest panel’s decision.

Kunisawa has already been charged with giving ¥5 million in illegal donations to the office of former Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa and also with bringing in ¥70 million from abroad without reporting it to customs authorities. He pleaded guilty to those charges on June 19 when his Tokyo District Court trial opened.

The prosecutors said they would not charge Nikai’s secretary, whose name is being withheld, and LDP lawmaker Shinya Izumi, the chief accountant of the Nikai faction’s Atarashii Nami political body.

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