Reconstruction Minister Akiba’s political party branch donated 6 million to “his brother-in-law’s riddle organization.
The awkward question-and-answer session may have been a sign of confusion on the part of the respondents.
On August 26, Reconstruction Minister Kenya Akiba, 60, held a press conference at the Reconstruction Agency in Kasumigaseki, Tokyo. When asked by a reporter whether there was any truth to a report in a weekly magazine about his relationship with the former Unification Church, Akiba replied, “There have been a lot of things written about me in the weekly magazine.
There have been a lot of things written in the weekly magazines, so I don’t know which one you are talking about.
At this point, only the August 24 issue of Shukan Bunshun reported on Akiba’s relationship with the former Unification Church. There were no “various things written” about the former Unification Church. When Mr. Akiba was told that “some weekly magazines” reported on him, he probably thought of the August 19 issue of this magazine, which pointed out that Mr. Akiba had paid office rent to his relatives from his political funds.
The story reported by “FRIDAY” was well known locally. About a year ago, during a discussion at a party, a Diet member who served as president of the prefectural federation laughed bitterly and said, ‘That’s just not right,’ and those around him agreed.
The “family and money” scandal surrounding the first reconstruction minister appointed from the disaster-stricken prefecture of Miyagi. In our previous report, we reported on the fact that Akiba’s office rent had been paid to his wife and mother. However, there is still “another allegation” against Mr. Akiba.
In 2005, 6 million yen was paid to an unidentified political organization.
This was the testimony of another person involved with the prefectural federation. This person was looking at the political fund balance report of the LDP Miyagi Prefectural Second Constituency Branch, a political party branch of which Akiba is the representative, and noticed the expenditure.
Upon checking the income and expenditure report, they found that the branch had, in fact, donated 6 million yen to an organization called the Institute for Political Economy, which has an office in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, on February 20, 2005. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Election Commission, the Institute for Political Economy is registered as a political organization and is headed by a man named “H”.
However, according to the TMG, this political organization was established on December 18, 2005. This means that it did not exist when the donation was received. Furthermore, the organization was dissolved only two years later, on December 31, 2007. During the two-year period of its activities, it had only received 6 million yen in income. The following information was also heard in connection with this political organization, the actual status of which is not known.
Mr. Akiba’s wife is from Shinagawa Ward, I remember.
The group’s office is also located in Shinagawa Ward. The group’s office is also located in Shinagawa Ward, and we also learned that the surname of the group’s representative, Mr. H, is the same as the maiden name of Mr. Akiba’s wife. The group may be related to Akiba’s wife. To test this hypothesis, we visited an address in Shinagawa Ward. An elderly man emerged from a 50-year-old two-story single-family house standing in a residential area.
–Excuse me, is your name Mr. H?
Me? No, it’s K.
–What is your relationship to Mr. H?
Yes, that’s my son.
–Mr. Akiba’s wife, who was appointed Minister of Reconstruction, is your daughter, isn’t she?
Yes, she is. My daughter called me several times. She said, “I’m busy right now, so I can’t go over there (to my parents’ house).
According to Mr. K, Mr. H is the brother of Mr. Akiba’s wife. In other words, Mr. H is Mr. Akiba’s brother-in-law, and it is believed that Mr. H established the “Institute for Political Economy” using his parents’ house as its location.
–Mr. H has set up a political organization called the Institute for Political Economy, using his parents’ house as its office.
Hmmm, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t know what it is.
–So, the Institute of Political Economy used to have a sign here?
Yes, it was.
–Has Mr. H been active here?
H doesn’t really have anything to do with it. He doesn’t come over (to my parents’ house) very often.
–Do you know that Mr. H has formed a political organization?
Is he involved in it? I have nothing to do with it.
–Mr. Akiba donated 6 million yen to that political organization. Do you know about that?
I don’t know anything about that. I was unaware of that.
Mr. Akiba paid 6 million yen from his political fund to his brother-in-law’s political organization, whose activities are still unclear.
According to the income and expenditure report (summary) for 2005 for the “Research Institute for Political Economy,” indeed, 6 million yen donated by Akiba’s political party branch was recorded as income. On the other hand, the income and expenditure reports for 2006 and 2007 show expenditures of approximately 1.79 million yen and 1.08 million yen, respectively (expenditures in 2005 were 0 yen). The expenditures consisted of personnel expenses, equipment and supplies, office expenses, and organizational activity expenses, but utilities expenses were all zero.
Although the expenses were diverse, it is not surprising that Mr. K, the “landlord,” would be aware of the situation when it comes to office expenses.
–Did the Institute for Political Economy use this place as an office?
I never used this place as an office, not once.
–Did Mr. H, who used his parents’ house as an office, pay you for the office and did not give you a receipt from Mr. K?
I never used an office. （He only comes to my parents’ house for New Year’s.
–Did you give him a receipt?
No, I haven’t.
–Did Mr. H. do any campaigning?
No, no, not at all. (Mr. Akiba) It seems that he and H don’t get along very well. We didn’t get along.
–Did Mr. H ever campaign for Mr. Akiba?
No, no, no.
–For example, when it came to Mr. Akiba’s election, did Mr. H ever go to Sendai (Mr. Akiba’s constituency)?
H really doesn’t say much about Akiba, does he? I don’t have anything to do with it at all.
–Do you have any activities such as putting up Mr. Akiba’s posters?
No, nothing like that. （Because I live in Tokyo (which is different from Mr. Akiba’s constituency). I have never said “Please help Akiba” in Tokyo. It doesn’t have any effect.
–Mr. H, have you been involved in any political activities involving politicians other than Mr. Akiba?
No, I don’t. (Mr. H) doesn’t do anything about politics.
As far as our interview with Mr. K was concerned, it did not appear that the 6 million yen donated by Mr. Akiba’s side was used appropriately. We directly interviewed Mr. Akiba himself in front of his house in Tokyo on the morning of August 26, but he simply said, “Please ask me (questions) in writing. When we again asked him about the facts in writing, we received the following response from Akiba’s office.
In response to your suggestion, we checked the income and expenditure report and receipts of the constituency branch (political party branch, citation needed) and confirmed a receipt issued by the Institute for Political Economy dated December 20, 2017. Accordingly, the “H29/2/20” in the Electoral Branch’s 2017 Income and Expenditure Report Contribution was a misstatement of “H29/12/20.”
The answer to the question of whether the donation was made to a political organization that did not exist at the time was that it was a clerical error. This magazine additionally asked Akiba’s office to provide a copy of that receipt, but they never responded.
As for the political organization that his brother-in-law represents, the Akiba office responded, “It is a different political organization, so please ask the organization in question.
As mentioned above, his political organization was dissolved at the end of 2007. At that time, approximately 3,120,000 yen that was not used for activities was carried over to the next year, but we do not know where this money disappeared to after that.
Professor Hiroyuki Kamiwaki of Kobe Gakuin University, an expert on political funds, points out, “Under the current Political Funds Control Law, the amount of money that is not used for political activities is not known.
Under the current Political Funds Control Law, there are no clear rules regarding the treatment of assets such as carry-over funds when a political organization is dissolved, making it a virtual black box. As for political funds channeled to a relative’s political organization, such as Mr. Akiba’s, it is not unnatural that they may be regarded as money that is effectively the politician’s own money, and he should be held accountable.”
Political funds that support the activities of political party branches and other organizations are financed by tax-exempt donations and other means, and are considered to have a strong character as public money. Including the office rent paid by Akiba to his wife and others, at least 20 million yen from Akiba’s political funds flowed to his relatives.
Interview and text by： Naoyuki Miyashita (nonfiction writer)