Japanese lawmaker admits taking casino bribe

Japanese lawmaker admits taking casino bribe

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

Japan.- The casino bribe scandal in Japan seems to be endless and continues to unfold. After many politicians denied getting money from casino operators, Mikio Shimoji decided to take a different direction.

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

Still, he says he never tried to persuade any government agency to favour the Chinese company. Moreover, the Japanese lawmaker assured he’ll give the casino money back.

“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

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

The suspicious activity sparked an inquiry by a Japanese lawmaker who voluntarily attended the questioning. Lower House member Tsukasa Akimoto discussed his involvement with a Chinese company hoping to land in the country’s incoming casino market.

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

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