Japanese lawmaker admits taking casino bribe

Japanese lawmaker admits taking casino bribe

Japanese lawmaker Mikio Shimoji admitted to accepting a bribe for 2017 general election campaign from a Chinese gambling operator.

Japan.- The casino bribe scandal in Japan continues to unfold with one lawmaker admitting to taking a bribe during the 2017 general election. After many politicians denied accepting money from casino operators, Mikio Shimoji has taken the decision to come clean.

The Japanese lawmaker admitted to taking a bribe from a Chinese gambling operator back in 2017. He reversed his previous denial and said he received €8k and saying that he “extremely regrets it.”

He claims he never tried to persuade any government agency to favour the Chinese company. Moreover, the Japanese lawmaker has made assurances that he will give the casino money back.

But others have called for him to resign over the scandal.

“It’s a violation of the political funds control law and he should resign,” Japan Innovation Party head Ichiro Matsui said.

Shimoji himself also said he’ll consider whether to resign.

Denied accusations

Other lawmakers caught up in the accusations have denied wrongdoing. Representative Hiroyuki Nakamura said: “I accepted a legitimate political donation and included the money in a political funds report,” as quoted by the Jiji Press news agency.

Takeshi Iwaya, former Defence Minister, also denied accusations against him: “I absolutely deny it (…) From the perspective of laws regulating political funds as well, it’s impossible that I got donations from a foreign firm.”

First accusations

Earlier suspicious activity by a Japanese lawmaker sparked an inquiry into alleged bribes being paid to politicians. The lawmaker, Lower House member Tsukasa Akimoto, voluntarily agreed to attend a public hearing and discussed his involvement with a Chinese company hoping enter the country’s gambling market.

Tokyo prosecutors questioned the Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker over suspected illegality, which he denied.

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