Tokyo Gov. Inose changes story on money received from Tokushukai

Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose said Monday that he had canceled a contract for a safety deposit box leased to keep 50 million yen received from the scandal-hit Tokushukai hospital group in May and transferred the money to another deposit box, contradicting his earlier explanation.

In intensive deliberations at a committee session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, Inose said he transferred the money from central Tokyo to near his home in western Tokyo after winning the governorship in last December's election so that he could give it back at any time.

Inose had previously said that after receiving the money in November of last year he put the money in the safety deposit box where it remained untouched until September when he returned it to the Tokushukai group.

According to documents submitted to the committee, Inose made a contract under the name of his wife to lease the safety deposit box at Hachijuni Bank's Aoyama Branch in Minato Ward on Nov. 19, 2012, the day before he received the money from House of Representative member Takeshi Tokuda, son of Torao Tokuda who is former chief of Tokushukai, and canceled the contract after last using it on May 10.

The governor also changed his safety deposit box under contract since 1990 with the Bank of Yokohama's Tsukushino Branch in Machida to a larger one on May 9 records show he used it the following day.

Inose's secretary was also found to have used an official vehicle of the metropolitan government when he gave back the money to the Tokushukai side in September after prosecutors launched investigations into the hospital group over alleged vote-buying in last December's general election.

He also said the secretary gave back the money on Sept. 26, not Sept. 25 as previously reported, correcting the date.