• Staff Report


Ryutaro Nonomura, who resigned from the Hyogo Prefectural Assembly in July amid allegations that he misused public funds, is suspected of spending ¥2.5 million on gift certificates and other goods, contradicting his claim that he spent that amount on stamps, investigative sources have told the Kobe Shimbun.

The investigators further suspect that Nonomura lied on his expenditure statement to conceal that he had misused his political activities funds, according to the newspaper.

The regional daily reported Monday that the receipts for the ¥2.5 million in expenses, attached in his official income and expenditures report from fiscal 2011-2013 and listed as being spent on stamps, carried no details on how the money was spent.

Although Nonomura has claimed the receipts, obtained from shops in Kobe and Osaka, were for the stamps he bought to distribute his newsletters, some of the shops were found to have sold no stamps on the day Nomura claimed to have made the purchases, Hyogo Prefectural Police said.

A majority of Nomura’s receipts were in reality issued for gift certificates, which can be used to buy a wide variety of goods at retailers, investigators told the paper. Police are planning to interrogate Nonomura on the alleged misuse of his funds, the paper said.

Nonomura attracted a worldwide attention in July when a video clip of him wailing and banging his fists on a desk while answering reporters’ questions about his suspicious use of funds went viral on the Internet.

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