Tokyo, Feb. 15 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s first son at the center of a wining and dining scandal also involving communications ministry officials may be a person with interests stipulated under the national public service ethics code, an official of the ministry said Monday.
Such a possibility “cannot be ruled out,” Kuniaki Hara, head of the communications minister’s secretariat, said at a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament.
Since 2016, four senior officials of the ministry have been wined and dined for a total of 12 times by Suga’s son and received taxi tickets from him. The son works for Tohokushinsha Film Corp., whose operations include satellite broadcasting.
The ministry has authority to give satellite broadcasting licenses.
At the Budget Committee meeting, Yoshinori Akimoto, head of the ministry’s Information and Communications Bureau, said, “No,” asked whether he has had dinner with officials of other satellite broadcasting operators as frequently as he did with Suga’s son.
Akimoto, one of the four ministry officials in question, said he deeply regrets the dining with Suga’s son. Still, he said that he considered the dinners to be a kind of meetings among people who are from the Tohoku northeastern Japan region or have parents from Tohoku. Suga and Tohokushinsha’s president, who is the founder of the company, are from Akita Prefecture, one of the six prefectures comprising Tohoku.