Wednesday, September 3, 2014   

US$8m scandal floors Japanese lawmaker
(04-08 14:46)

A senior Japanese politician has announced he is resigning as party leader, despite insisting that he spent an undeclared US$8 million loan not on politics but on personal items – including an ornamental rake.
Yoshimi Watanabe, said he was stepping down from the helm of the small but influential Your Party.
Watanabe accepted 800 million yen (US$8 million) from the chairman of a huge cosmetics company. Japanese law requires that all political donations be made public.
Watanabe said earlier, the money had been a personal loan that he had spent on “miscellaneous items'' including a decorative “kumade'' – a bamboo rake believed to confer luck on its holder.
Announcing his resignation Monday, Watanabe said again he had done nothing wrong and insisted the cash had been unconnected to his electoral ambitions.
“Although there is no legal problem at all, it is true that I caused trouble to the party. I bear all the responsibility for this,'' the 62-year-old politician told reporters, adding he would stay in parliament.—AFP
   
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