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Ex-chief cabinet secretary not guilty in money scandal

The Tokyo District Court on March 30 found Muraoka Kanezo, a former chief cabinet secretary and former acting chair of a Liberal Democratic Party faction, not guilty of violating the Political Funds Control Law, suggesting that former Prime Minister Hashimoto Ryutaro and the LDP were deeply involved in a scandal involving 100 million yen in secret donations from a dentists' association.

The court pointed out that in accordance with former Prime Minister Hashimoto's wish, the 100 million yen from the Japan Dentists Federation (JDF, a lobbying wing of the Japan Dental Association) was not recorded in his faction's political funds report.

Strongly suspecting that the JDF made illicit donations of 30 million yen to former LDP Vice President Yamasaki Taku in 2001 as well as 10 million yen to Hashimoto in 2000 using the LDP political fund-managing organization as a conduit, the court determined that a donation laundering system had been established within the LDP.

Following the court decision, Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Sasaki Kensho commented that the Diet needs to thoroughly reveal the LDP's covert or laundered donation mechanisms.

Sasaki attached importance to the court finding that a former treasurer of the Hashimoto faction gave dubious testimonies in order to minimize the negative impact on the faction and to prevent the opaque way of dealing with political donations within the LDP from being revealed.

Sasaki criticized LDP former executives who appeared as witnesses in court for failing to speak the truth as well as the ruling parties for obstructing the work to find out the whole truth by dodging giving sworn testimonies before the Diet.

Sasaki pointed out that the LDP's corrupt nature such as off-the-book funds and laundered donations via its political fund-managing organization came to light in court, and that JDF executives who gave money to the LDP politicians gave detailed testimonies concerning the laundered donations. "It is unacceptable to allow the LDP to ignore this matter," he stated.
- Akahata, March 31, 2006

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