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Friday, Feb. 24, 2006

DPJ's Nagata hints at resignation over credibility of e-mail


Staff writer

Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata has offered to resign from the Diet after failing to authenticate e-mail he claimed proved shady financial links between Livedoor Co. founder Takafumi Horie and a son of Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe.

News photo
Hisayasu Nagata

DPJ leader Seiji Maehara said Thursday, however, that nothing has changed the DPJ's determination to continue pursuing the allegations, as he strongly suspects shady money was in fact provided to close aides to Takebe.

DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama met with Nagata in the afternoon. According to the party's No. 2 man, Nagata said he would leave the matter of his proposed resignation up to him. Nagata was elected from the party's proportional representation roster.

DPJ executives, including Hatoyama, held a series of meetings Thursday, deciding in the evening to put the issue on hold for a while.

The secretary general told reporters that he had persuaded Nagata to get a few days' rest, since he seemed emotionally unstable due to lack of sleep. Earlier in the day, Hatoyama said Nagata, who made his offer to step down Wednesday, was extremely troubled by the fact that he has not been able to present the hard evidence demanded by the LDP.

During an emergency meeting of party executives in the afternoon, Maehara reiterated his willingness to reveal information that identifies the number and holder of the bank accounts in question if the ruling bloc agrees to launch a Diet investigation into the case. This is unlikely.

In the evening, Hatoyama said the DPJ will continue to probe the matter both in Japan and abroad, while Nagata takes a few days off, and try to provide further evidence to prove the existence of shady financial links between Livedoor and Takebe.

Hatoyama said Nagata first expressed his intention to resign to Yoshihiko Noda, DPJ Diet affairs committee chief.

Earlier in the day, Noda told reporters that Nagata told him Wednesday night that he is unable to verify the authenticity of the e-mail and feels responsible for causing trouble for the party.

During a Lower House Budget Committee session last week, Nagata read aloud what he claimed was a copy of an internal e-mail in which Horie ordered his company staff to transfer 30 million yen to Takebe's son. However, he has been unable to authenticate the e-mail.

Noda noted at the meeting that when the LDP strikes back with full force, this is when the government will be struck at its most vulnerable point.

"The Diet must shed light on the (shady) connection between Livedoor and Takebe," he said.



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