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2013年11月14日 (木)

徳洲会選挙違反 「組織ぐるみ」の徹底解明を

The Yomiuri Shimbun November 14, 2013
Get to the bottom of ‘systematic’ election fraud involving Tokushukai
徳洲会選挙違反 「組織ぐるみ」の徹底解明を(11月13日付・読売社説)

A recent scandal appears to involve election violations systematically committed by one of the largest hospital groups in the country. We urge investigative authorities to uncover the full truth of the case.
 国内最大級の医療グループにおける組織ぐるみの選挙違反事件とみられる。捜査当局には徹底解明を求めたい。

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad and the Metropolitan Police Department on Tuesday arrested two elder sisters of House of Representatives member Takeshi Tokuda of the Liberal Democratic Party, and four others, including senior officials of the Tokushukai hospital group, on suspicion of providing monetary benefits to campaign staffers in violation of the Public Offices Election Law.
 東京地検特捜部と警視庁は、徳田毅・自民党衆院議員の姉2人と、「徳洲会」の幹部ら4人を公職選挙法違反(運動員買収)の疑いで逮捕した。

During the campaign for the lower house election in December last year, the two sisters, both presidents of Tokushukai group companies, and the four others are suspected to have orchestrated large-scale election violations to support Tokuda, who was running in Kagoshima Constituency No. 2.
 昨年12月の衆院選で、グループ関連会社の社長を務める姉2人と幹部らは、鹿児島2区から立候補した徳田議員の支援のため、大がかりな選挙違反を指示した疑いが持たれている。

The six people arrested allegedly sent more than 500 employees of Tokushukai’s affiliated hospitals to the constituency and paid them a total of nearly ¥150 million. During the campaign period, these employees were recorded as being absent from work or taking paid holidays, and were given the remuneration with their year-end bonus.
 系列病院の職員500人以上を選挙区に派遣し、その報酬として総額1億5000万円近くを支払っていたとされる。選挙期間中、職員を欠勤や有給休暇の扱いにして、報酬は年末の賞与に上乗せしていたという。

“The election campaign was completely sponsored by Tokushukai,” one nurse said.
 「徳洲会による丸抱えの選挙だった」と証言する看護師もいる。

Investigative authorities must build their case carefully by, for example, cross-checking these statements and documents they confiscated from Tokushukai’s affiliated hospitals and Tokuda’s campaign office.
こうした供述と、系列病院や選挙事務所から押収した資料を照らし合わせるなど、捜査当局には丁寧な立証が求められよう。

Tokuda, who was an executive director of a Tokushukai-affiliated medical corporation during the campaign period, reportedly denied involvement in the alleged election fraud during questioning. Nevertheless, he has informed the LDP that he will leave the party. This is probably because there are growing calls within the LDP for him to take responsibility for this affair.
 選挙時、関連医療法人の常務理事だった徳田議員は、事情聴取に対し、関与を否定しているという。一方で、自民党には離党する意向を伝えた。責任追及の声が党内でも高まったからだろう。

Father pulling the strings?

Given that police and judicial authorities have started investigating his campaign activities, Tokuda should fulfill his responsibility as an incumbent lawmaker to explain his side of the story.
 自らの選挙活動に司直のメスが入った以上、現職の国会議員として説明責任を果たすべきだ。

The Public Offices Election Law has a guilt-by-association provision that will be applied to a candidate if his or her parents, spouse, children, brothers or sisters violated the law. If a punishment of imprisonment, including a suspended sentence, is finalized for the family members, the candidate’s election result will be annulled. The candidate also will be prohibited from running for election in that constituency for five years.
 候補者の父母や配偶者、子、兄弟姉妹が選挙違反を犯した場合、公選法には連座制の規定がある。執行猶予を含む禁錮以上の刑が確定すれば、候補者の当選は無効となる。同一選挙区から5年間、立候補することも禁止される。

The focus of attention will be whether Tokuda will be subject to this rule.
 徳田議員に連座制が適用されるかどうかが焦点となろう。

Tokuda’s father is Torao Tokuda, the group’s founder and a former lower house lawmaker. He is currently hospitalized due to a serious disease, but he reportedly gave overall instructions concerning his son’s campaign from his hospital room.
 徳田議員の実父は、グループ創始者の徳田虎雄元衆院議員だ。難病で入院中だが、病室から選挙運動の全般について指揮していたと言われている。

Torao was not arrested at this stage because he is in poor health, but the special investigation squad will continue to question him at the hospital as a suspect.
 体が不自由なため、逮捕は見送られたものの、特捜部は容疑者として在宅で取り調べを続ける。

Torao also was involved in fiercely contested election battles during his career as a lawmaker, and many of his campaign staffers were arrested for alleged election violations. Did this disposition remain in the campaign for Takeshi, who took over his father’s electoral turf?
 虎雄容疑者も議員時代、激しい選挙戦を繰り広げ、多くの運動員が選挙違反で逮捕されたことがある。地盤を引き継いだ徳田議員の選挙でも、こうした体質が残っていたのだろうか。

The Tokushukai hospital group expanded by touting it is “open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” It has about 280 hospitals nationwide, many of which are centers of community medicine.
 徳洲会グループは「年中無休・24時間オープン」を掲げ、規模を拡大してきた。全国に280余りの医療施設を展開し、地域医療を担う病院も多い。

The election scandal must not result in the medical treatment of patients taking a back seat.
 事件の影響で、患者の治療がおろそかになってはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 13, 2013)
(2013年11月13日01時52分  読売新聞)

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