A secretary to former financial services minister Shizuka Kamei told Tokyo District Court on Monday that he received ¥3 million in cash from former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai.
The 70-year-old secretary gave the testimony during Kawai’s trial for his alleged vote-buying to help his wife, Anri, win a seat in the House of Councilors in the July 2019 election.
The amount received by the secretary is the highest of the payments that Kawai, a member of the House of Representatives, is alleged to have made to 100 people in the vote-buying case.
The secretary said he received ¥1 million in Kawai’s office in Hiroshima on May 31, 2019, and ¥2 million in a Hiroshima hotel on July 3 the same year.
When giving the money, Kawai sought help, saying he was in trouble after being shunned by businesses, according to the secretary.
The secretary testified that he felt Kawai was asking for help in getting Anri elected. The secretary also said he thought part of the money was intended as an advisory fee because Kawai asked him to become an adviser to Kawai’s office after the election.
Tokyo District Court last week handed down a suspended prison sentence of 16 months to Anri for her roles in the vote-buying.
The Kawais were both elected from Hiroshima. Kamei, a former Lower House lawmaker also elected from Hiroshima, had retired from politics when the secretary received the money.
The secretary told the court that he helped Anri’s campaign by speaking to members of Kamei supporters’ group and local businesses.
The secretary reported receiving the money to Kamei, 84, after undergoing investigation by prosecutors. Kamei rebuked him, according to the secretary.
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