Tokyo governor Inose caught in election pay scandal

News & Views - November 26th, 2013

Tokyo governor Naoki Inose admitted ties to a political family at the center of an electioneering scandal, raising speculations he might be involved in the scheme.

Inose, who is credited for bringing the 2020 Olympics to the capital, revealed on Friday that he had received 50 million yen ($500,000) from the prominent Tokuda family during his run-up in the 2012 gubernatorial election.

The Tokudas, the family behind the powerful medical group Tokushukai, is embroiled in an electioneering scandal for allegedly providing illegal support to campaign workers. The group is suspected of illicitly funding campaigns for the founder’s son, Takeshi Tokuda, who was elected to the House of Representatives last December.

Under Japanese law, campaign treasurers must report all income, such as donations, related to electionering. Those who violate the law could face prison terms of up to three years or fines of up to 500,000 yen ($5,000).

Inose failed to report the $500,000 but claimed he had returned the money he was offered back to the family. He denied the money formed a slush fund and claimed it was a personal “loan”.

A report by public broacaster NHK contested Inose’s claims, saying it was the governor himself who reached out to the founder’s son, a lower house member, and asked for 100 million yen ($1 million). The patriarch of the family reportedly offered Inose 50 million yen.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: CTV News