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Posted: May 22 2009, 04:12 AM
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Joined: 3-April 06
Another contractor linked to shady political donations
Another general contractor, Kumagai Gumi Co., extended political donations to legislators via dummy political organizations over a six-year period up to 2000, it has emerged.
The practice could constitute a violation of the Law to Regulate Money Used for Political Activities. However, the statutes of limitations have run out for all these donations.
A Kumagai Gumi insider has admitted that the funds were the company's donations to individual politicians. "They were a token of thanks for doing us a favor, so we didn't want our firm's name to be stated in political fund reports."
The revelations come after former Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Ichiro Ozawa stepped down following the indictment of a top aide for accepting illegal political donations from Nishimatsu Construction Co.
Between 1995 and 2000, the company donated more than 30 million yen to political fund-raising organizations for 20 legislators via three dummy organizations, according to the legislators' political fund reports and Kumagai Gumi insiders. The recipients are 12 incumbent legislators and eight others who have now either retired from politics or passed away.
The three dummy organizations, which were set up in the 1970s or 80s and have already been disbanded, are Toshi Kaihatsu Kenkyukai in Tokyo's Suginami Ward, Hokuriku Keizai Kenkyukai in Fukui and Keihin Kensetsu Keizai Kenkyukai in Ebina, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The three organizations donated 9.24 million yen to Shakai Keikaku Kenkyukai, a political fund-raising body for former ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Koichi Kato.
They also extended 2 million yen to Rikuzankai, a fund-raising organization for Ozawa, 1.5 million yen to Yokohama Seikei Konwakai for LDP deputy chief election strategist Yoshihide Suga and 1 million yen to Shinjidai Seisaku Kenkyukai for Senior Vice Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Sanae Takaichi.
Some of the donations were extended in the form of the purchase of tickets to political fund-raising parties for the politicians.
Retired Kumagai Gumi employees or executives were registered as heads of the organizations, while then active employees were serving as accountants. The groups were actually managed by the secretarial division of the general contractor's headquarters.
Kumagai Gumi used money collected from some high-ranking officials of the firm, subsidiaries and subcontractors for the donations.
Some of these subsidiaries, subcontractors and retired employees have admitted that they were involved in the donations at the instruction of the company. However, several other retired employees and executives said they did not even know they were registered as heads or accountants of the dummy organizations.
The Law to Regulate Money Used for Political Activities prohibits the extending of political donations in the name of a third party, the collection of donations for politicians by those using an organization's power or employment relationship, and false entries in political fund reports.
The law was amended in 1995 to limit the amount of political donations that a fund-raising organization for an individual politician could receive from a single company to 500,000 yen a year.
The offices of Kato, Ozawa and Takaichi said they cannot confirm the details of the donations from Kumagai Gumi.
Click here for the original Japanese story
(Mainichi Japan) May 22, 2009