(Tokyo Shimbun: January 22, 2016 – p. 2)
Following is the gist of responses given by Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari at the House of Councillors Audit Committee on Jan. 21:
Q: We ask you to fulfill your responsibility to offer an explanation on the scandal (reported by a weekly magazine).
Amari: I apologize for causing trouble. I read the weekly magazine’s report this morning. I would like to look into this matter properly and fulfill my responsibility to explain.
Q: The report says the general affairs officer of a construction company personally handed you an envelope containing 500,000 yen at the minister’s office in November 2013.
Amari: It is a fact that the company’s president and others paid a courtesy call at the minister’s office. I do not recall very accurately what they did at that time. I will look into the matter and give an explanation.
Q: Did (an official of the construction company) give you 500,000 yen at your office in your constituency in February 2014?
Amari: I do recall that he came. I am trying to check the facts and recall what happened.
Q: The chief secretary of your constituency office reportedly received 5 million yen in August 2013.
Amari: I learned about this for the first time from the magazine story. I am in the process of verifying if this is true. I will look into this.
Q: Some of the donations from this company were not reflected in the political fund accounting report of the relevant Liberal Democratic Party local chapter and other groups.
Amari: Honestly, I learned about all this for the first time from the magazine report. These allegations will be investigated with the participation of a third party.
Q: You really do not recall receiving 500,000 yen personally?
Amari: Certain facts are unclear. I will explain after verifying the facts.
Q: Can you say for sure that you have committed no illegal acts?
Amari: I have absolutely not violated any law.
Q: Would you consider resigning from the cabinet?
Amari: I will make every effort to perform the duties I am entrusted with.