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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Lawyer hopes 'go-between' can skip Diet


Staff writer

A lawyer representing the alleged go-between who gave an e-mail suggesting shady financial links between Livedoor Co. founder Takafumi Horie and a son of Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe to an opposition lawmaker called Monday on the House of Representatives Disciplinary Committee to refrain from summoning his client for sworn testimony.

In a statement Monday, the lawyer, Osamu Wakuda, noted the panel can only discipline Diet members who disturbed or tarnished the dignity of the Diet.

"Summoning a civilian as a sworn witness, who is forced to testify under the Penal Code, is a very big problem from the viewpoint of the Constitution's fundamental principle, which guarantees human rights," it said.

The statement also pointed out that protection of informants needs to be guaranteed. In the future, people may stop providing information out of fear of being summoned to the Diet to testify under oath, it said.

Last Friday, the executive board of the Lower House Disciplinary Committee unanimously voted to summon Takashi Nishizawa for sworn testimony after Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata named him as the middleman between himself and the unnamed informant.

During the panel session, however, an LDP member pointed out that Nishizawa has denied being the go-between.

At a Lower House Budget Committee session in February, Nagata read aloud what he claimed was an e-mail written by Horie ordering a company staffer to remit 30 million yen to Takebe's son. Nagata later admitted the e-mail was fake.

Wakuda side-stepped the question of whether Nishizawa still denies providing the e-mail and instead said fact-finding is something for the courts.

"It is inappropriate for the Diet to summon Nishizawa," Wakuda said. "This is a matter for the courts. If Nagata were to sue Nishizawa, both sides should present evidence."



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