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Doubt remains over chief cabinet secretaryfs records of office expenses double counting

Akahata editorial (excerpts)


   A key cabinet memberfs failure to clear up suspicions concerning his political funds reports shows that the Abe Cabinet completely lacks credibility.


   Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisafs office counted the same expenses twice in its different funds reports. This problem was revealed in the Akahata Sunday edition that has investigated suspicions about Shiozakifs political funds.


   However, Shiozaki has declined to explain this problem and placed the responsibility simply on a former staff member who had allegedly misused the funds.


   The Akahata Sunday edition looked into the 2005 political funds report of the Liberal Democratic Party Ehime Prefecture 1st District Branch headed by Shiozaki and his 2005 general election campaign expenses report and found that the same amount of payment to the same company made on the same day was recorded in both reports. Copies of the same receipt were attached to the two reports.


   The weekly asked Shiozakifs office if this expense were counted twice. Refusing to reply to the question by saying that this is under investigation, his office suddenly announced that political activities expenses of about six million yen were in fact reported twice, that an office employee made such reports to disguise diversion of funds for her personal use, and that Shiozakifs office is not to blame for this problem.


   Assuming that the office employee actually diverted funds for her own personal use, Shiozaki still has to explain why his office filed such funds reports, whether there was no other falsification of funds reports, and many more questions.


   Shiozaki cannot evade his own responsibility. He has left this question totally to his office. He failed to fulfill the minimum responsibility as a politician to explain his corruption suspicions. His qualification not only as the chief cabinet secretary but as a Dietmember is called into question.


   Already two Abe Cabinet ministers have resigned and one even killed himself due to corruption scandals. If Shiozaki continues to deny accountability, also called into question is Prime Minister Abe Shinzofs responsibility to appoint such a person as a key cabinet member in the first place.

- Akahata, August 24, 2007


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