The 100th day of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s administration was marred by disgrace. On Thursday, two former secretaries to Mr. Hatoyama were indicted for falsifying political funds reports. The case is not linked to corruption, but it casts serious doubt over the transparency of the Hatoyama office’s handling of political funds. It deals a blow to the prime minister himself, since he and his Democratic Party of Japan won the general election in August with calls for a change in Japan’s politics.
One of the secretaries, who actually handled political donations, was charged, among other things, with inflating the amount of political donations that Mr. Hatoyama’s political funds management organization received from individuals during 2004-2008 — from the actual amount of some ¥101 million to some ¥308 million. In doing so, he is suspected of having listed 270 fictitious donors or padded the sum of small donations (¥50,000 or less) whose donors need not be identified.
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