Suzuki's control of Foreign Ministry brought to light in Diet: JCP Shii

Japanese Communist Party Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo emphasized that Liberal Democratic Party Dietmember Suzuki Muneo's control of the foreign Ministry, foreign aid, and official development assistance programs has been confirmed by the ministry's internal document which was revealed in parliament by a JCP representative.

The JCP chair was speaking at a news conference he called on February 20 to comment on the unsworn testimony Suzuki made before the House of Representatives Budget Committee earlier in the day.

Shii said that Suzuki himself admitted discussing the matter with Foreign Ministry officials and that Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro didn't deny the existence of the ministry's internal document in question. He said that the recent developments accord with what the internal document stated, citing the fact that a company which has donated money to Suzuki was a bid-winner in a virtually uncontested bid.

"The corruption using foreign aid to increase his clout has been brought to light. This is a big step forward toward establishing the facts,"Shii said.

On the allegation that Suzuki pressured the ministry into barring NGOs from the international conference on assistance to Afghanistan, which the government has denied, Shii said that clearly, Suzuki has tried to increase his influence on the ministry in many ways and that it is impossible for him to insist that he didn't interfere only in the NGO issue.

Shii said that the JCP demands that Suzuki and former Foreign Minister Tanaka Makiko be summoned as sworn witnesses so that all the hidden facts will be made public in order to help make clear who are responsible for the matter.

Claiming that Suzuki must bear heavy responsibility both ethically and politically, Shii said, "What has been made clear so far is that this can be a bribery scandal. When all the facts are established, his qualification as a Dietmember will be questioned."

Shii demanded that Prime Minister Koizumi make efforts to investigate into the matter because it is impossible for the Foreign Ministry alone to do that. (end)