Japan

Lawmaker Hosono late in reporting ¥50 mil loan during election

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Former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono borrowed 50 million yen from a securities firm during the general election campaign last October without initially reporting the funds, sources close to the firm said Wednesday.

Funds for election campaigning must be reported to the election administration commission in the form of a campaign finance record.

The 46-year-old lawmaker, elected seven times, later disclosed the fact that he had received 50 million yen in a financial statement showing his personal borrowing.

Hosono's office said in a statement that the funds were "personally" borrowed to prepare for "a sudden need of political funds."

"The money was not used and was paid back," the office added.

Hosono, a member of the House of Representatives, was among those at the center of last year's opposition realignment that ended in disarray. He left the now-defunct Democratic Party and was a founding member of a new party created by Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike in September, but he currently does not belong to any party.

The parent company of the securities firm was being closely watched by the security watchdog in connection with alleged shady fundraising activities.

According to the sources close to the Tokyo-based securities firm, Hosono sought the money and the company provided the 50 million yen as a short-term loan, to be paid back with interest, on Oct 19 last year, three days before the general election.

Hosono repaid the total sum, including the interest, on April 9, according to the sources. There was a period of several months during which the interest was not paid, but that occurred because of a clerical mistake on the side of the securities firm, they said.

The lawmaker corrected on April 4 his financial statement, which initially stated there was no borrowing.

The sources said the securities firm provided the loan to Hosono "as part of company business, in a broad sense." The company also wanted to "support the former environment minister well-versed in policy," they said.

© KYODO

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