• Kyodo News

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A South Korean permanent resident of Japan whose donations to Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara prompted his resignation has said she was unaware foreign individuals were barred by law from making political contributions.

The woman also said that had she been aware of the law, she would not have donated money to Maehara, adding that she did so because she “has cherished” him since his childhood when they were close neighbors.

“I didn’t know (the donation was illegal), and if I knew it, I wouldn’t have made a donation,” said the woman, who lives in Kyoto. She did not tell Maehara about the donations, so he “can’t have known of it,” she added.

The woman didn’t provide any other details about the donations, including when she started sending them.

A member of her family said the woman “paid money in good faith as she didn’t know foreign people are not allowed to politically back Japanese lawmakers even though South Korean residents of Japan can become public servants.”

Maehara’s office “would not have received the donation if they had known we are foreign residents of Japan,” the family member added.

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