National / Politics

LDP Toyama chapter led by minister gets donation from bid-rigging firm, will return funds

Kyodo

A ruling Liberal Democratic Party chapter headed by Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi, state minister in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs, received political donations from a company involved in bid-rigging, data from the political funds reports of the chapter showed Thursday.

The electoral district branch in Toyama Prefecture received a total of ¥360,000 from the local company, which was penalized by the Japan Fair Trade Commission in 2014 for bid-rigging over electricity transmission line work ordered by Kansai Electric Power Co.

Miyakoshi’s office said in a statement it has reached an agreement with the company to return the money that was donated after the penalty.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed Miyakoshi to his current post in the Cabinet reshuffle earlier this month.

Although Japan’s Political Funds Control Law does not prohibit donations from companies involved in bid-rigging, recipients in many cases end up returning the money after finding out about the situation.

The fair trade watchdog issued a surcharge payment order of ¥2.13 million against the engineering company in January 2014.

The company donated ¥120,000 each in April 2014, March 2015, and April 2016, to the LDP branch, according to the funds reports.

In 2016, Miyakoshi received ¥200,000 from the then head of the Japan Poultry Association subsidized by the farm ministry, while he returned the money after the matter came to light.

The House of Representatives member, who also serves as minister for promoting dynamic engagement of all citizens, assumed key posts related to farming policy, including senior vice minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and director of the Agriculture and Forestry Division of the ruling party.

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