Suspicious lawmaker Kato must resign -- Akahata editorial, March 31 (gist)

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office indicted Sato Saburo, former chief representative of the office of Kato Koichi, former Liberal Democratic Party secretary general, on a charge of income tax evasion.

Through his concession-hunting during 1998-2000 concerning public works projects and mediation between real estate dealers, Sato earned 265 million yen (1.9 million dollars), evading paying 98 million yen (726,000 dollars) in income tax.

Dietmember Kato, who left the LDP, still argues that he has nothing to do with what Sato did, which is not at all convincing.

Quite arrogantly, Sato collected money called the "Kato consumption tax" from corporations in return for mediating public works contracts, equivalent to 3 to 5 percent of total orders. These were possible only when Sato made full use of Kato's political influence.

Sato was also responsible for the accounting of the Kato office's fund managing body, the "Social Planning Institute" and Kato's local constituency's association. Based on Sato's predominant fund gathering capacity, Kato has successfully collected the greatest amount of funds of all LDP factions.

A newly emerged fact, however, smashed Kato's explanation to evade his responsibility: in five years, Kato had 90 million yen (700,000 dollars) paid through the bank account of the "Social Planning Institute" to pay for his house rent and other living expenses.

Kato's receipt of the money allegedly violates the Law to Regulate Money Used for Political Activities. Also, Kato is questioned if he himself had been involved in tax invasion.

Given the facts of wrongful doing as a Dietmember, Kato must immediately resign from the House of Representatives and disclose all the facts publicly.

As the people are demanding that Kato must resign as a Dietmember, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro just said that, "whether or not to resign is up to Mr. Kato." Koizumi is to blame for not using his leadership as an LDP president to deal with the matter.

Neither the Koizumi Cabinet nor the coalition government parties, including the LDP and the Komei Party, has any intention to reflect upon corrupt concession-hunting politics like Kato's.

Let's now strike a blow against the LDP-government by gathering public voices calling for a thorough investigation into the suspicion about Kato, and overthrow the corrupt LDP-government. (end)