Japan ex-minister denies receiving China money in casino case

Saturday 4th January 2020

TOKYO: Japan's former defence minister Takeshi Iwaya (pic) denied receiving money from a Chinese company involved in a casino bribery scandal.

"I absolutely deny it, " Iwaya, a politician from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said in a televised press conference Saturday (Jan 4).

"From the perspective of laws regulating political funds as well, it's impossible that I received donations from a foreign firm."

Tokyo prosecutors arrested a ruling party lawmaker last month on suspicion of receiving bribes from the Chinese company seeking to invest in the casino sector, dealing a blow to already unpopular plans to open the country to the gaming industry.

Local media reported earlier the Chinese company under investigation said that five lawmakers including Iwaya had also received around 1 million yen (US$9,252) each.

Another LDP member, Hiroyuki Nakamura, 58, admitted he was questioned by prosecutors and also denied receiving cash from the company.

Donations from foreign nationals or foreign organisations are prohibited by the Political Funds Control Law.

The questioning came after Katsunori Nakazato, 47, who served as an adviser to the company, told investigators according to a source that he delivered some ¥1 million each to the five lawmakers around September 2017 when he handed ¥3 million in cash to Tsukasa Akimoto, 48, then an LDP lawmaker.

Akimoto was arrested last month over the alleged bribery case.

Japan recently legalised casinos to be operated at resorts in hopes of attracting more foreign tourists and helping to boost the economy after this year's Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. - Agencies/Asia News Network

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