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Defiant Inose reveals Tokuda loan document

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose revealed a document Tuesday purportedly showing he borrowed ¥50 million from Lower House member Takeshi Tokuda last November, defending his claim that the money, from the scandal-tainted Tokushukai hospital group founded by Tokuda’s father, was a personal loan and stressing he does not intend to resign.

At a Tuesday morning news conference at the Metropolitan Government Building, the governor showed an IOU of ¥50 million from Takeshi Tokuda, dated Nov. 20, 2012, with Inose’s signature and address.

“I put my signature on the document prepared by Tokuda” when meeting with the politician at his Diet office in Nagata-cho on Nov. 20 last year, Inose claimed.

Inose said he decided to disclose the document after realizing Monday morning that it was in a bank safety deposit box. In his news conference last Friday, Inose was ambiguous about the whereabouts of the paper.

The governor claimed that although he had no intention of using the loan during the campaign, he said he was concerned about his future after the December election that brought him to power.

Inose said he initially expected the campaign to cost about ¥30 million, adding that in the end, this was how much he spent, using his personal savings.

As for the ¥50 million, Inose claimed the amount was suggested by Tokuda, who offered “no particular reasons” for lending the money or that specific amount.

Inose said he held the hastily arranged news conference to explain how he borrowed the money after looking at the document.

He said he made a courtesy call on Torao Tokuda, Takeshi’s father and founder of the Tokushukai hospital and medical facilities chain, on Nov. 6, 2012, at the group’s hospital in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, before launching his gubernatorial campaign.

Inose then met Takeshi, the second son of Torao, at a restaurant in Tokyo on Nov. 14 and received a call from the lawmaker on Nov. 19 inviting him over to his Diet office the next day.

The governor said that on Nov. 20, 2012, he received the ¥50 million from Takeshi Tokuda, who had originally offered the loan, and signed the IOU. Inose said he decided to keep the money in his wife’s bank deposit box as he had “no intention of using it.”

Inose claimed that at the end of January, he contacted Takeshi Tokuda to return the money and agreed to meet Feb. 4, but the meeting was canceled Feb. 3 due to Tokuda’s busy schedule.

Claiming his duties got in the way, including going overseas to push Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics bid and caring for his sick wife, who died in July, Inose said he wasn’t able to repay the loan until Sept. 26, when a secretary returned the money to Hideko Tokuda, Takeshi’s agent and mother, at a Tokyo hotel.

The Tokushukai group came under probe in September for allegedly breaking the election law apparently by using group employees to aid Tokuda’s successful Diet election campaign in December. Six people have been arrested.