Ex-Tokyo Gov. Inose gave 5 mil. yen to mediator after governor race

Former Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose, who resigned last year over his receipt of 50 million yen from Japan's largest hospital group, gave 5 million yen to a person who arranged a meeting for Inose with the group's founder, immediately after the Tokyo gubernatorial election in December 2012, the recipient said Saturday.

Inose, 67, may have used part of the 50 million yen from the hospital chain Tokushukai for the 5 million yen paid to Mitsuhiro Kimura, leader of the right-wing political group Issuikai.

If confirmed, the transaction contradicts Inose's account that the 50 million yen was "totally untouched" after his late wife put the money in a safety-deposit box until it was returned.

Kimura, who arranged the meeting between Inose and Tokushukai founder Torao Tokuda, told Kyodo News he asked Inose's wife to lend 5 million yen and later received the money without a document on borrowing.

Kimura said he used about half of the money for operating costs of the group.

Inose's wife died last July.

In September last year when a secretary of Inose was preparing to return the 50 million yen to Tokushukai, the secretary noticed that 5 million yen was missing.

Kimura told the secretary at that time he had borrowed 5 million yen and later compensated for the money.

Inose has said he met with Torao Tokuda, 75, on Nov. 6, 2012, and received the 50 million yen from his son Takeshi Tokuda, a House of Representative member, on Nov. 20.

Tokushukai is at the center of another election violation case involving the younger Tokuda, in which some family members, including his mother, have been indicted for allegedly buying votes in the 2012 general election.

Inose has repeatedly said he borrowed the 50 million yen in a personal capacity and the money was not reported as election campaign funds to authorities.

But if the money turns out to have been used for such purposes, it may constitute a violation of the public office election law.

Prosecutors started an investigation into the case, accepting a complaint filed by members of a civic group who claim the money was not listed in Inose's fund report for his election campaign.