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Friday, Dec. 25, 2009
Hatoyama not in need of any Christmas 'loans'
By JUN HONGO
Christmas time finds most people in a festive mood and looking forward to finding a little something under the tree. But Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has adopted a somber tone of late, his holiday spirit apparently dampened by the political fund scandal he is embroiled in over allegations that he received some ¥1 billion in "loans" from his mother.
"I've been told I have been given too much," Hatoyama told reporters Thursday after being asked what he wanted from Santa Claus this year.
The prime minister said Christmas will be a day of giving instead of getting for him.
"I want to give the gift of hopes and dreams to the public — a (sense of) hope toward this administration," Hatoyama said.
He has reportedly submitted a written statement to prosecutors denying his involvement in the alleged falsification of his political funding reports, which listed dead people and those who never gave money as donors. The murky cash is believed to have come from Hatoyama's mother, Yasuko, 87, the oldest daughter of Bridgestone Corp. founder Shojiro Ishibashi.
The prime minister, who marked his 100th day in office Thursday, said he is confident the 2010 budget plan will have help win back public support for the administration.
"I can sense the public's perseverance as well as their exasperation," Hatoyama said of his first 100 days in office.
He added that his administration is creating a budget that prioritizes social security, while cutting back on public works projects, in order to improve people's lives. "We've succeeded in creating a path for this administration" with next year's budget, he said.