When I ran for the House of Councillors election, Senator Ishii’s secretary asked me to prepare 5 million yen as an election “instruction fee,” and I gave five bundles of 1 million yen in a paper bag to his secretary in genna-mama.
The Japan Innovation Party’s Akira Ishii, 65, a member of the House of Councilors, who was reported by this magazine in June to have been distributing rice cakes and lotus root to voters in his constituency, has come under new suspicion. This time, he allegedly demanded a “slush fund” from a local candidate for the upper house election.
The accusation is made by Mr. A, who ran for the House of Councillors election in July 2007 in the Ibaraki electoral district with the official approval of The Japan Innovation Party. Mr. A had served two terms as mayor of Naka City, Ibaraki Prefecture, until just before he ran for the House of Councillors in ’19. Mr. A continues, “The ‘slush fund’ paid to Councilor Ishii was a ‘secret payment’ from the Ishin no Kai.
It was in June after I was officially approved by the Restoration Association. Ishii’s secretary contacted a relative of mine who was helping with my campaign and said, ‘I need some money. I was also new to national politics, so I wondered if this was how it was going to be. Ishii’s secretary explained to me, ‘I can’t give you any invoices or receipts,’ and ‘This is money that can’t be shown to the public. Not only the first 5 million yen paid as an election ‘instruction fee,’ but also an additional 3 million yen was demanded. As expected, when I was reluctant to pay out, they stopped providing any support for my campaign, such as not moving my campaign car. So we paid the additional money, and the campaign car started moving again.
Mr. A gave a large sum of money to Mr. Ishii’s side, but he did not receive any “support” commensurate with the amount of money. When Mr. A questioned his secretary about the use of the money, she explained that it had been used to mobilize supporters for speeches and to pay for discarded billboards.
Mr. A said, “Ishii has a bad reputation in his hometown of Ibaraki. I don’t know if such a person should be the representative of the Ibaraki Restoration Association. I decided to file charges in order to prevent any other candidates from suffering the same fate as me in future elections.
Naturally, the “slush fund” from Mr. A is not listed in any of Senator Ishii’s political fund balance reports. Hiroyuki Kamiwaki, a professor at Kobe Gakuin University’s Faculty of Law and an expert on public office election law, said, “The Political Funds Control Law was violated.
In addition to the possibility of a violation of the Political Funds Control Law, the actions of Senator Ishii’s office may also be considered an act of “demanding the delivery of bribe funds” under the Public Offices Election Law. Even if he claims that his actions were those of his secretary, he should be held accountable for his supervision.
Is it really true that he demanded back taxes from the candidates? We interviewed Mr. Ishii himself in Toride City, his hometown.
–Is it true that he received 5 million yen from Mr. A during the ’19 Upper House election?
I didn’t mention it at all.
–Is it true that the secretary did it personally?
I don’t know; Mr. A must have asked me to do it.
–Did he use the 5 million yen to put up billboards and to mobilize supporters for his speeches?
Mr. A.: “That has nothing to do with it, as it didn’t cost me anything.”
–Mr. A clearly states that he paid for it.
Mr. A is a senior student at my university. Because of that relationship, people around me may have been willing to help him. As for the money, I have my own money, to be frank. For those who don’t have money, I help them so that they don’t get caught by the Public Election Law.
When we later sent a written question to Ishii’s office, they replied, “This is not true,” followed by the following response.
The former private secretary of Akira Ishii at the time was consulted by the brother of the former mayor of Naka City regarding the production of political campaign signs and their installation throughout Ibaraki Prefecture, and (omitted) we have confirmed that the former private secretary received 5 million yen from the brother (of Mr. A) as the cost of such work. (omitted) We have confirmed that the former private secretary received 5 million yen from Mr. A’s brother as the cost of the work. （The reason why there is no mention of this in the income and expenditure report is because Akira Ishii did not receive any such money.
While admitting that his secretary had received the money, he says that he had nothing to do with it. ……
In the recent Upper House election, Mr. Ishii was elected as the top Ishin no Kai (Restoration Association) member from the proportional list. Will the voters who cast their ballots be satisfied with this explanation?
From the August 19 and 26, 2022 issues of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Shinji Hamasaki