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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 November 15 - 21  > Akahata gets scoop on scandal over Henoko landfill work involving ex-Okinawa affairs minister
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2017 November 15 - 21 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Akahata gets scoop on scandal over Henoko landfill work involving ex-Okinawa affairs minister

November 17, 2017
Former Okinawa Affairs Minister Tsuruho Yosuke allegedly used his influence to favor a business owner to participate in the Henoko landfill project in the construction of a new U.S. base, an exclusive report delivered by the Akahata Sunday edition on November 19.

An informant regarding this scandal is an operator of a quarry business in Kagoshima Prefecture who sought to get a contract to supply rocks and stones for the Henoko reclamation work.

According to Akahata, in November 2015, this business person met a man who introduced himself as the head of a local supporters’ organization for Tsuruho, a Liberal Democratic Party member of the House of Councilors elected from Wakayama Prefecture. The business owner was asked for money to arrange an appointment with Tsuruho. The businessman said to Akahata, “I paid the man more than 10 million yen on demand. I also offered him a luxury car for free. I have no experience in cultivating connections with a politician. So, I couldn’t say ‘No’ to demands from the man in question.”

In the House of Councilors election in July 2016, called for by the “supporters’ organization head”, the quarry company owner visited Wakayama to work for the election victory of Tsuruho. During the election campaign, he stayed in the prefecture and provided various supports, including mobilizing his employees for the election race.

The supporter group chief’s act of requesting the company owner to have his employees work for Tsuruho’s victory and to bear the cost of entertaining local voters could constitute a violation of the Public Office Election Act.

After the Upper House election, Tsuruho served the Abe Cabinet for one year as Minister of State for Okinawa and Nothern Territories Affairs.

The company owner met with Tsuruho seven times at the minister’s office through the intermediation of the supporters’ association chief. The quarry business owner said that Tsuruho made an inquiry at the Defense Ministry about suppliers of Henoko landfill materials for the owner and introduced him to a Kagoshima-elected LDP lawmaker.

Tsuruho’s offices in Tokyo and Wakayama gave no response to an Aahata inquiry about the allegation.

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