A former aide to the “don” of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, who was arrested for official bid-rigging, distributed a “letter of apology” after his arrest. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A former aide to the “don” of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, who was arrested for official bid-rigging, distributed a “letter of apology” after his arrest.

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Suspect Shimazaki being sent to prosecution

There had been talk since last fall that the Metropolitan Police Department was investigating Shimazaki, and a number of ward employees had been interviewed. The previous year, suspicious documents had also been circulated.

On January 24, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Investigation Division 2 arrested Hidehiko Shimazaki, 64, a Chiyoda Ward assemblyman, on charges of violating the Public Tender Rigging Prevention Act by leaking bidding information to contractors for the construction of Ochanomizu Elementary School and a kindergarten ordered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The suspect submitted his resignation on the same day and resigned.

Shimazaki was first elected in 2003. He belonged to the LDP faction and also served as the chairman of the ward assembly from ’13 to ’15. In addition to his experience as a council chairman, Shimazaki was more than just a “ward councilor.

Mr. Shimazaki is the heir to a local soba noodle shop. He is the heir to a local buckwheat noodle shop, which is not a famous store, but just an ordinary buckwheat noodle shop in town. The reason he was able to become a ward assemblyman was because of the support of Mr. Uchida (Shigeru Uchida). Mr. Shimazaki was a member of Mr. Uchida’s “SS” and was known as a direct descendant of Mr. Uchida when he first ran for office,” said a ward assembly member.

Mr. Shigeru Uchida (who passed away in 2010) is the former secretary general of the Tokyo Metropolitan Federation of the Liberal Democratic Party. He was known as the “Don of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly,” boasting tremendous power in national politics as well. A source in the ward assembly continues, “He was very close to Mr. Uchida.

A source in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly continues, “Mr. Shimazaki was a close ally of Mr. Uchida, so he is capable of playing games with him. He knows how to intimidate his opponents. He knows how to threaten his opponents, and he says to the ward assembly staff, “I’ll stop the assembly. The staff members are most annoyed when the assembly is stopped. In short, the budget will not be passed, and ordinances will not be passed. He knows that very well.

When he “stops” a meeting of the budget committee, for example, he starts making accusations, saying, “Isn’t this the wrong way to put this together? Since he is somewhat familiar with the rules of the assembly, he brings up those rules with pinpoint accuracy and, well, he messes with them. The chair of the committee gets awestruck because he is following the rules. That’s when I raise my voice and say, ‘I want to hear it in the chairman’s own words. You can’t deliberate on a budget that is so important to the people of the district with this kind of thing! He would then call out, “You’ve got to be kidding! Then the LDP and New Komeito members would leave the room. In this way, he maintained his influence in the assembly. It’s the same way that Shigeru Uchida did.

The actual letter of apology distributed by the suspect

This magazine obtained a “letter of apology” that Shimazaki distributed through a member of the Liberal Democratic Party’s faction after his arrest.

It seems that he distributed the letter to each faction in the morning of the 25th, the day after his arrest. Since the arrest took place on the 24th and the letter was distributed in the morning of the following morning, the apology letter must have been prepared in advance,” said another person involved in the ward assembly.

The letter of apology contains such remorseful remarks as, “The misconduct is due to my own negligence,” “I will cooperate fully with the authorities’ investigation,” and “I will face the investigation without concealment. The letter concludes with the words, “Please take care of yourself during these cold days.

Although the letter is an apology, some of the phrases sound like a cold-weather greeting card, and it is difficult to accept whether the writer is truly sorry or not. Although Mr. Shimazaki resigned from the Diet on March 24, he was also arrested as an incumbent member of the Diet. That is also a serious crime, the charge of official bid rigging. I get the impression that he has even reopened his position, as if he had ‘already factored in his arrest. The fact that he has distributed the documents to the various factions suggests that he still intends to resurrect himself as a member of the Diet.

Even after Uchida retired in 2005 after losing his battle with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, he attempted to exert his influence from time to time, including in the election for Chiyoda Ward Mayor. Perhaps he inherited his “don” ways in his bad luck.

  • PHOTO Shinji Hasuo (sent to prosecution)

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