LDP lower house member Tokuda's campaign suspected illegal

Japanese prosecutors on Tuesday raided the Tokyo head office of Tokushukai hospitals and medical facilities on suspicion its employees were illegally involved in the election campaign last year of Liberal Democratic Party lower house member Takeshi Tokuda.

Tokuda, 42, is a third-term House of Representatives member elected from Kagoshima Prefecture's No. 2 constituency and the second son of Torao Tokuda, 75, the founder of the Tokushukai group and a former lower house member.

More than 200 employees of the Tokushukai group allegedly joined Tokuda's election campaign after the lower house was dissolved on Nov. 16 last year for a general election, and worked on the campaign until Dec. 15, the day before voting, investigative sources said.

While the employees took unpaid leave to work on the campaign, the Tokushukai group is believed to have boosted their bonuses to cover their losses, which is regarded as a corrupt practice under the public office election law, the sources said.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office will investigate if or how Tokuda and his father were involved in those actions, the sources said.

Initially elected to the lower house in 2005, Tokuda was appointed last December as parliamentary secretary in charge of infrastructure and transport as well as reconstruction from the March 2011 triple disaster.

But he resigned in February after a scandal broke out over his relationship with a woman.