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Akagi should resign as agriculture minister: JCP Ichida


   It was revealed on July 7 that Akagi Norihiko, who assumed office as agriculture minister in June, had allegedly filed falsified political funds reports in which a total of 90 million yen was used as office expenses for a fictitious office in the past 10 years.


   Political funds reports which Akagifs political organization filed between 1996 and 2005 registered Akagifs parentsf home in Ibaraki Prefecture as its gmain officeh and reported that it used 90.45 million yen as operating expenses, including personnel, utilities, equipment, supplies, and rents, the receipts for which are not required to be attached by law.


   However, Akagifs mother said, gWe have received neither payment for rents nor utilities. There is no secretary here.h A former prefectural assembly member whose name was registered as the representative of Akagifs political organization also said, gI didnft know that my name was used. I havenft been to his parentsf home since he became a Dietmember.h


   Akagi at a press conference on the same day refused to make public any receipts for those expenses and insisted that his parentsf home has been used as an office since his grandfather was a Dietmember.


   Prime Minister Abe Shinzo later in the day defended Akagi by saying, gThe agriculture minister gave a convincing explanation at the press conference.h


   However, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi on the same day said, gThis is exactly the same type of problem as the case of Mr. Sata Genficiro, who resigned as Administrative Reform minister for fictitious office expenses. Mr. Akagi should resign from the ministerial post, or the prime minister must dismiss him.h


   Pointing out that Akagi succeeded Matsuoka Toshikatsu, who committed suicide while being under fire for suspicion of falsified office expenses, Ichida criticized the prime minister, saying, gPrime Minister Abe is responsible for appointing such a person as the successor to Mr. Matsuoka.h


   Akagi, a member of the Japan Conference (Nippn Kaigi) Dietmembers Council, is with the pro-Yasukuni forces that justify Japanfs past war of aggression. gPrime Minister Abe has assembled Yasukuni advocates in his cabinet. Mr. Akagifs problem shows the failure of Mr. Abefs government management.h                                  - Akahata, July 8, 2007




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