Arai defends ‘office expenses’

Kyodo News

Cabinet minister Satoshi Arai defended on Wednesday his registration of a condominium as the main office for his political organization, while an opposition lawmaker urged him to resign, saying the new national policy chief had committed fraud.

Arai had reported the Tokyo condominium, which is owned by an acquaintance, as the office for about seven years before dissolving the organization last September, a senior Democratic Party of Japan official said.

He logged about ¥10.13 million as expenses for the office, but the acquaintance said he has never received rent for the condo, which was used mainly for receiving mail sent to the organization.

Arai, named national policy minister Tuesday, told reporters the registration posed “no problem.”

In Arai’s funding reports, ¥10.13 million was registered as “office expenses,” and no rent was reported having been paid to the acquaintance.

Goshi Hosono, deputy secretary general of the DPJ, said the party conducted an investigation on the 2007 report and found that the money was spent for legitimate purposes that fall within the category of the “office expenses,” including postage stamps, telephone bills and “takuhai” door-to-door delivery services.