Subpoena Suzuki to appear as witness -- Akahata editorial, February 23, 2002

Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko admitted that her ministry has the internal documents concerning Liberal Democratic Party Lower House member Suzuki Muneo's role in relation to contracts for the government's assistance, including the so-called "Muneo House" for the Russian-held four northern islands near Hokkaido.

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro instructed the foreign minister to report investigation results within ten days, thus leaving the matter to the Foreign Ministry.

Prime minister's responsibility

The Foreign Ministry's internal documents revealed by Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives members Sasaki Kensho and Kijima Hideo at a House Budget Committee meeting show that a bidding was arranged to make sure that a firm in Suzuki's constituency would be the successful bidder and that the firm's president had an interview with a consulting firm which was in a position to know the benchmark price with the presence of Suzuki's secretary.

A document which Sasaki showed the Budget Committee stated that the Foreign Ministry will be unable to explain why contractors should be limited to those in the Nemuro district if the ministry accepts Suzuki's demand that only Nemuro-based contractors can be qualified as bidders.

The Foreign Ministry did as was told by Suzuki, knowing that such rigged bidding would not be tenable. This makes the people suspect how deep the collusion between the two really is.

In order to conceal the corruption, the Foreign Ministry classified a document which has nothing to do with diplomatic secrets, as "secret for an indefinite period" in order to conceal their wrongdoing from the people, with the LDP special interest Dietman and the foreign ministry colluding with each other.

The task now is for the government to make public all documents relating to matters in which Suzuki had a hand.

Prime Minister Koizumi also has a responsibility

In the face of the revelation of Suzuki's meddling in diplomatic affairs to further his personal interests, the government issued a statement saying that there was no involvement of Suzuki in barring nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from attending an international conference on aid to Afghanistan. The statement meant to be an acquittal of Suzuki, and the prime minister has made no moves to rethink it.

The prime minister's attitude of assigning the foreign ministry to the task of investigating the facts shown in the ministry documents poses a problem.

The foreign ministry is an "accomplice" to the suspicions. Appointing the suspect to probing the matter is simply a cover-up.

The issue boils down to one thing: Foreign relations, which have a direct bearing on national interests, came under the control of a special interest LDP Dietman for his concession-hunting and were thus distorted. Such a situation as this is untenable.

A thorough revelation of the facts related to this matter is an urgent and indispensable political task which is necessary to redress the corrupt concession-hunting politics and to correct the distortion in foreign affairs.

The way to achieving this task is for the Diet to subpoena Suzuki as an witness under oath who will be held criminally responsible if he gives false testimony.

Suzuki, who replied to JCP Sasaki in the Lower House Budget Committee as a witness not under oath, insisted that he had never been implicated, even though Sasaki showed him the documents. Now, Suzuki's denial is no longer convincing.

The Subpoena of Suzuki as a witness under oath is absolutely necessary to establish fact.

No cover-up to be allowed

Reportedly, the prime minister and the LDP agreed on rejecting the call for subpoenas of witnesses under oath on the day Suzuki testified as a witness not under oath. This means that the government and the LDP are covering up the truth.

Foreign ministry documents which the foreign minister has to acknowledge back up the suspicion. It is the prime minister's responsibility to the people to reveal the facts.

If the prime minister, in an effort of cover-up rejects subpoenas, the people will know that the prime minister is the one who is neck-deep in the corrupt concession-hunting politics. (end)