Japanese parliamentary vice foreign minister resigns amid bribery allegations

'There is no proof whatsoever that our company paid bribes to a lawmaker'

masatoshi_akimoto Masatoshi Akimoto | Twitter

Japan's Vice Foreign Minister  Masatoshi Akimoto, on Friday, resigned from his post. A leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Akimoto stepped down after bribery allegations amounting to tens of millions of Yen from a wind power company were levelled against him, reported the Kyodo News. 

Reportedly, authorities also searched the offices of the Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker in Tokyo and China. The president of the wind power company too was questioned over payments made to Akimoto. Lawyers of the company's president denied charges and said the money was for a racehorse cooperative and not Mr Akimoto.

Japan Wind Development said in a statement, “There is no proof whatsoever that our company paid bribes to a lawmaker or to any public servants. There is objective evidence to prove this point,” Kyodo News reported. 

The scandal comes as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida battles low approval ratings. The support rate for his cabinet is at its lowest level since Kishida took office nearly two years ago. 

Akimoto had pushed for legislation to set uniform rules for renewable energy operators to use the sea and promote offshore wind power. The legislation was enacted in November 2018. The Japan Wind Development sought to join the development project where the government designated three marine zones in Akita and Chiba prefectures for electricity generation for up to 30 years based on the legislation. 

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