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Political situation in Japan

Japan government members targeted in funds probe

Political situation in Japan, satisfied 48%

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Japanese prosecutors plan to investigate government lawmakers in a widening donations scandal after earlier targeting the opposition, media reports said Friday.

Prosecutors looking at the donations from a construction firm have said they will also probe money given to fundraising events for the trade minister, Toshihiro Nikai, the Tokyo Shimbun daily reported.

The scandal broke early this week when prosecutors arrested the right-hand man of opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa, head of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), who has been seen as a likely future prime minister.

Prosecutors alleged the aide took illegal donations from the Nishimatsu Construction Company, which was seeking lucrative public works contracts, through apparent front groups.

But reports soon emerged that central figures of Prime Minister Taro Aso's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have also taken donations linked to the construction firm, including influential former premier Yoshiro Mori.

While Mori, an LDP heavyweight, said Thursday that he would return money linked to the company, reports also said former finance minister Koji Omi has received Nishimatsu-linked donations.

Prosecutors "are investigating in a strictly fair manner, on te principle of balance and non-partisanship, no matter who is subjected," he said. "There is not a single reason that we would have to face such accusations."




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