UTSUNOMIYA, TOCHIGI PREF. – Following the resignation Monday of Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe amid a scandal involving ¥800 million in loans from major cosmetics company DHC Corp., its chairman, Yoshiaki Yoshida, issued a statement later the same day.
“We can say that (Yoshimi Watanabe) has acted in an impressive manner by stepping down, which he did after paying (me) back all the money he had received,” Yoshida said. “If someone returns all the money, it’s none of my business what he used it for.”
Yoshida lent money to the Your Party leader before the Upper House election in 2010 and the Lower House race in 2012, intending to support Watanabe’s party’s campaigns.
Watanabe, meanwhile, says he spends about ¥10 million per year to cover personal expenses.
Yoshida also said that Watanabe told him the money was for campaigning, not, as the politician has publicly claimed, for personal use. However, Yoshida said he doesn’t doubt some of it went for personal purchases.
“People may use such money to purchase a piece of land or lend some money to a friend,” he continued.
He also said he believed that “as Watanabe explained, he might have used the money to ‘gather information (to help expand party membership) or exchange opinions.’
“The fact that he lied to me (about the purpose of borrowing the money) might be a problem, but if we start to list off all the politicians who have lied, we could go on and on,” he said.
“Even though he has come under fire from the media, it’s still not a criminal act. We can only caution him not to lie anymore.”
Yoshida revealed his private notes on unreported loans in a weekly magazine published in March. He added that Your Party holds on to its key posts in the Upper House Budget Committee, leaving members of the Unity Party, which broke away from Your Party in December, frustrated.
He said that “this problem has been solved,” since Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and the Unity Party have recently decided to form a stronger alliance in the Upper House.
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