Kenya Akiba, 60, was appointed Minister of Reconstruction in the second Kishida cabinet. When asked at his inaugural press conference about his relationship with the former Unification Church, he replied, “I have never attended any meetings hosted by 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.
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 amount of rent listed in the report varied from year to year, ranging from 50,000 to 85,000 yen per month, which was paid to his wife, the owner of the property. The total amount 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 expectation.
Even if the rent is paid to the wife, it is still appropriate as 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 our interviews, 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
Photo： Kyodo News Agency