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2014年4月28日 (月)

渡辺氏の8億円 内部調査でも疑念は晴れない

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:12 pm, April 27, 2014
Your Party probe far from clearing up Watanabe’s ¥800 mil. loan problem
渡辺氏の8億円 内部調査でも疑念は晴れない

An investigation into a politician’s suspected irregularities involving loans demonstrates the limitations of carrying out a probe on a voluntary basis. The truth behind the dubious flow of funds in question and what they were used for remains mystifying. Indeed, suspicions have deepened.
 任意調査の限界だ。不明朗な資金の流れや趣旨が、十分解明されたとはとても言えない。疑念は深まるばかりである。

In regard to loans totaling ¥800 million to former Your Party head Yoshimi Watanabe from the chairman of a cosmetics manufacturing and marketing company, an intraparty investigation report released Thursday concluded that nothing illegal had taken place.
 みんなの党の渡辺喜美前代表が化粧品製造販売会社会長から8億円を借りていた問題で、みんなの党は、違法性が認められなかった、とする調査報告書を公表した。

Of the ¥800 million, the party confirmed ¥710 million had either been lent to Your Party or kept in the bank account of Watanabe’s wife, according to the report.
 それによると、8億円のうち、7億1000万円は党への貸し付けや、渡辺氏の妻の口座に保管していたことなどが確認できた。

Of the remaining ¥90 million, Watanabe used ¥55 million on his own, while his wife spent the rest, it said.
残る9000万円のうち、5500万円は渡辺氏が、3500万円は妻が使っていたという。

Watanabe was quoted as saying the money he spent was used for such purposes as covering the costs of meetings that involved wining and dining, and traveling and hotel accommodation expenses. Some details were not explained fully because Watanabe refused to disclose some of his cash and credit card usage for privacy reasons. What his wife used the money for was not explained.
 渡辺氏は、飲食会合費や旅費宿泊費などに充てたと説明しているが、カードの利用明細の開示を一部拒んだため、解明し切れない部分が残った。妻の明細の確認は出来なかった。

The cosmetics company chairman has said he provided Watanabe with loans for use as campaign funds in the 2010 House of Councillors election and the 2012 House of Representatives election. Your Party, however, said its investigation confirmed that ¥500 million of the loans was transferred to the bank account of Watanabe’s wife, most of which it said was left untouched.
 会社会長は衆参両院の選挙資金として貸したと証言している。ところが、妻の口座に5億円が移され、大半が手つかずで残っていたことが確認された。

Your Party’s investigation team accepted Watanabe’s explanation that he had kept the bulk of the cash as the “sinews of war” in preparation for future realignment of political parties. The party determined that Watanabe’s receipt of the loans did not violate the Public Offices Election Law as long as none of the money was used as election campaign funds for candidates supported by the party.
 調査チームは、政界再編に備えて「軍資金として保管しておいた」という渡辺氏の説明を受け入れた。みんなの党の候補者の選挙資金として使われていない以上、公職選挙法に抵触しない、との見解を示している。

Toughen legal regulations

While admitting he should “offer an apology for causing part of the loans to be subject to suspicions and misunderstandings” because of the lack of accuracy of some of his explanations, Watanabe has argued that the investigation has proved the loans did not present a problem, either legally or morally.
 渡辺氏は自らの説明に正確さが欠け、「一部に疑問や誤解を与えたことをわびる」としながらも、法的、道義的な問題はないと判断された、とコメントしている。

Given that there are many inconsistencies in his explanations, Watanabe’s claims are unconvincing.
 だが、不自然な点が多く、説得力がないと言わざるを得ない。

During the investigation, a new, astonishing fact came to light. Apart from the loans from the head of the cosmetics company, Watanabe obtained a total of ¥615 million in loans from five lenders. The loans were said to have been for Your Party and for other purposes.
 調査の過程で、新たな驚くべき事実も判明した。渡辺氏は会社会長とは別に、5か所から計6億1500万円を借りていたことだ。この借入金は、党への貸し付けなどに回っていたという。

Watanabe declined to reveal to the party investigators the identities of the five lenders, thereby aggravating the public’s distrust concerning money and politics. Does Watanabe have any intention to really hold himself accountable in this matter?
 渡辺氏は、借入先を公表しなかった。政治とカネの問題は不透明さが増した感もある。説明責任を果たす気はあるのだろうか。

The Political Funds Control Law is mainly designed to regulate political bodies and does not oblige individual politicians to report on their personal borrowings. Some analysts have pointed out that allowing politicians to refrain from making public their incomes and expenditures as long as they are related to personal loans is nothing but a loophole in the law.
 政治資金規正法は、主に政治団体を規制対象としており、政治家個人の借入金には報告を求めていない。個人の借り入れとすれば、その収支は公表しないで済むなら、法律の「抜け穴」にほかならないとの指摘が出ている。

Both the ruling and opposition camps should study the advisability of revising the law to make it obligatory for politicians to make public how they use money for political activities even if the money is an individual loan.
 与野党は、個人の借入金であっても、政治活動に使ったものは公開を義務づけるような法改正を検討すべきではないか。

A huge amount of taxpayers’ money is used as subsidies to political parties. It is the duty of political parties and individual members of the Diet to make the flow of political funds as transparent as possible.
 税金から多額の政党交付金が支給されている。政治資金の流れの透明化に努めるのは、政党や国会議員に課せられた責務である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 27, 2014)

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