Finally removed from office! It All Started Here: Reconstruction Minister Akiba’s Alleged “Office Expenses Paid by Wife | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Finally removed from office! It All Started Here: Reconstruction Minister Akiba’s Alleged “Office Expenses Paid by Wife

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Finally, he was “ousted” from his post. It is Kenya Akiba, 60, minister of reconstruction in the Kishida administration.

It is reported that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has decided to “replace” Akiba on December 27. Mr. Akiba has been the subject of allegations of money and politics, as well as his relationship with the former Unification Church, and he has been the subject of much opposition party criticism at Budget Committee meetings. Although he was effectively “ousted,” one cannot deny the feeling that it was too little too late.

Finally, the Kishida administration’s “domino of resignations” has reached an unusual situation in which a fourth person has resigned. FRIDAY Digital” has frequently reported on the allegations against Reconstruction Minister Akiba. We also reported on the mysterious donation of 6 million yen to the organization of Akiba’s brother-in-law, as well as allegations of campaign worker bribery. When Akiba gave a bitter defense in the Diet that he had his own secretary working as a campaign worker on his car (so-called “uguisu”), we reported testimony by other uguisu workers that his secretary was not in the campaign car.

The first of many such allegations was the allegation, reported in August, that the political party branch represented by Akiba had paid office expenses to Akiba’s wife. We reproduce them below (age, title, etc. remain as they were at the time).

Kenya Akiba, 60, was appointed Minister of Reconstruction in the second Kishida cabinet. At his inauguration press conference, he was asked about his relationship with the former Unification Church.

I have never attended any meetings organized by the former Unification Church.

According to local officials, however, Akiba’s problem lies elsewhere.

On August 10, Akiba (right) enters the prime minister’s office after being chosen as reconstruction minister. He had served as an aide to the prime minister in the Abe administration.

The political party branch represented by Mr. Akiba in Sendai City pays office rent to his wife. Some are whispering that political funds are being returned to Mr. Akiba and going into his own pocket,” said an official of the LDP Miyagi Prefectural Federation.

This magazine obtained the political fund balance reports of the LDP Miyagi Prefectural Second Constituency Branch, a political party branch, for the period from 1999 to 2008. The total amount of the rent listed on the report for the 10 years amounted to approximately 7.93 million yen. Hiroyuki Kamiwaki, a professor at Kobe Gakuin University and an expert on political funds, noted, “Even if the rent is paid to the wife, it is not a realistic estimate.

Even if the rent is paid to the wife, it is still appropriate in the context of a business transaction. However, if the rent is less expensive than the market price, the difference should be reported in the income and expenditure report as a donation.

The political party branch building is a two-story wooden structure with a total floor space of approximately 84 m2. According to a local real estate agent, the market rent for a similar building is around 90,000 yen per month. Although the rent paid by the political party branch to his wife is below the market rate, there is no mention of any donation from his wife on the income and expenditure report.

To begin with, the original owner of the building was Mr. Akiba himself. According to the registry, Mr. Akiba purchased the property in December 2000 when he was a prefectural assemblyman, and gave it to his wife in February 2005, just before he was first elected to the House of Representatives.

This is not all. Another suspicious point emerges from the income and expenditure reports (for the period from 1999 to 2008) of the “Kenya Akiba Supporters’ Association,” a political organization that we also obtained. The rent for the supporters’ association, which is housed in a prefabricated building adjacent to the political party branch, was paid to his wife in 2011 and 2012, and to Akiba’s mother thereafter, totaling approximately 6.2 million yen. According to the Sendai Legal Affairs Bureau, the building of the supporters’ association is not registered, and it is not possible to verify whether it is appropriate that the rent is paid to his relatives.

In addition, in the course of its investigations, this magazine learned that Akiba owns a room in a seven-story secondhand condominium in Meguro Ward, Tokyo. This property was not specified in the asset reports that were made public last year.

Akiba’s office responded to our interview.

Akiba’s office responded in an interview, “(Rent) is paid as stated in the income and expenditure reports of each political organization. (We found that (the apartment) was omitted from the report, and we will take immediate action.

With such a loose cabinet, is the Kishida cabinet going to be all right?

From the September 2, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

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