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Okinawa’s political world in turmoil after arrest

Date Posted: 2003-02-28

Okinawa’s political world is in turmoil following the arrest of former Ginowan City Chamber of Commerce Chairman Tomomitsu Tsuha, 69, and Satoru Kinjo, 49, the secretary of Okinawan Liberal Democratic House of Representatives member Seiji Nakamura. The two are charged with suspicion of soliciting illegal campaign contributions from businesses during the Ginowan City mayoral campaign two years ago.

Police have completed the investigation and also sent documents to the Prosecutors’ office on Tetsuo Shokita, 75, the Chairman of the Ginowan City Mayoral Election Campaign Association, and Seijun Chinen, 64, a member of the same association.

Investigators claim that Tsuha asked and received ¥3 million in donations from a construction company, promising them work contracts in exchange.. Kinjo is suspected of advising the association on how to solicit contributions, and how to hide them in the association bookkeeping. All strongly deny having done anything illegal.

Asked by the press about the scandal involving his secretary, Nakamura said that he does not have anything to do with the matter, nor does he know any details except those that have been written in the newspapers. “These events happened two years ago at a time when I was very busy preparing for my own election campaign. Besides, the Ginowan mayor refused to get backing from any party, and wanted to do his campaign himself. Consequently, we (Liberal Democratic Party) did not touch his campaign at the time,” Nakamura said from his office in Tokyo.

Nakamura also said he still believes his secretary did nothing illegal. “I believe that strictly legally there’s nothing wrong, but if it appears that he did break the law, I must reprimand him seriously.”

Nakamura says that during the time he has been the chairman of the LDP Okinawa Chapter, they have never asked illegal donations from businesses, and categorically denies having had anything to do with Ginowan Mayor’s Office. “Ginowan City Mayoral Campaign Office actually caused me bad damage. They should come and apologize for that,” Nakamura stated. He also said that there’s no reason for him even consider resigning from the Okinawa Prefecture LDP Chairman’s post.

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