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Suga receives 5 m. yen from company related to 1st son

  • February 17, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 10:51 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Feb. 17 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday he has received donations totaling 5 million yen from executives of a company for which his eldest son works.


During the day’s intensive deliberations at the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan grilled Suga in connection with a wining-and-dining scandal involving the son, saying that the government may have given favors to the satellite broadcasting company. Suga denied the allegations.


There is suspicion that four senior officials of the communications ministry, which supervises broadcasting companies, were wined and dined by Suga’s son in a way violating the national public service ethics code.


According to Suga, the founder and the former president of Tohokushinsha, donated a total of 5 million yen to a Suga-headed electoral district branch of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, on six occasions between September 2012 and October 2018. Four of the six donations were made at times of Lower House elections.


Asked whether the founder and the former president bought tickets for fundraising parties, Suga stopped short of making clear comments, saying only that the donations were handled “appropriately based on law.”


Yuichi Goto of the CDP said that the country’s criteria for satellite broadcasting approval were revised in August 2017 and that an affiliate of Tohokushinsha was given approval for operating satellite broadcasting business in 2018.


“The son works at Tohokushinsha, and the prime minister has influence over the communications ministry,” Goto said, suggesting that the ministry’s decision-making may have been distorted due to pressure from both sides.


Suga denied his involvement, saying that he has not heard of any facts.


Suga, who has known the Tohokushinsha founder and former president for nearly 20 years, said he “probably dined with them two or three times,” while noting that he does not “remember at all” whether they talked about issues related to satellite broadcasting business.


Yoshinori Akimoto, director-general of the ministry’s Information and Communications Bureau and one of the four ministry officials who dined with Suga’s son, reiterated at the committee meeting that he has “no memory” of topics about satellite broadcasting coming up during the conversations.


Later on Wednesday, however, the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine uploaded on its website what it claims is audio recording of Akimoto and Suga’s son discussing issues on satellite broadcasting when they dined in December last year, with the son saying such words as “BS” (broadcasting satellite). The magazine claims that the conversations were recorded from a nearby table.


After that, Jun Azumi, the CDP’s parliamentary affairs chief, met with his LDP counterpart, Hiroshi Moriyama, and urged him to confirm the facts with Akimoto before executives of the Lower House Budget Committee meet on Thursday ahead of a full committee meeting later in the day.


Moriyama said he will ask the communications ministry about the matter.


If the magazine report is true, “it means that (Akimoto) kept telling a lie,” Azumi said, showing his determination to pursue the responsibility of Akimoto and communications minister Ryota Takeda.

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