NAHA -- A Japanese legislator admitted on Jan. 6 that he accepted 1 million yen in cash from an adviser to a Chinese company under arrest on suspicion of bribing another legislator in connection with a project to open an integrated resort that includes a casino.
Mikio Shimoji, 58, a member of the House of Representatives and opposition Nippon Ishin party, told a news conference in Naha, the capital of the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, that he intends to return the money to the Chinese firm, 500.com Ltd.
"I'd like to deeply apologize for failing to ensure transparency of my campaign funds," he said.
Shimoji, who previously served as minister in charge of postal policy, said he accepted 1 million yen from the suspect, 48-year-old Masahiko Konno, as election funds at his campaign office during the campaign period of the 2017 lower house election. Shimoji's office did not issue a receipt for the money because Konno declined it.
According to those familiar with the matter, Katsunori Nakazato, another adviser to 500.com also under arrest on suspicion of bribing legislator Tsukasa Akimoto, told Tokyo district public prosecutors that he handed over about 1 million yen each to five lower house members besides Akimoto around the time when the lower chamber was dissolved in 2017 for a snap general election.
(Japanese original by Takayasu Endo, Naha Bureau)