Japan's Only Female Cabinet Minister Hit by Influence-for-Cash Scandal


Tokyo, Oct. 18 (Jiji Press)--Satsuki Katayama, currently the only woman serving as a cabinet minister in Japan, now faces allegations that she received money in return for exerting influence over the national tax authority.

According to an article published in the latest edition of the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine that hit the store shelves on Thursday, Katayama, a former Finance Ministry bureaucrat, was asked by a company owner to help the company remain eligible for the "blue return" preferential tax treatment and phoned a tax official she knew for a long time in 2015. A private male secretary to her demanded an advance payment of one million yen for her role, and the payment was made.

The special tax benefits were initially approved, but the company owner sought Katayama's influence because the permission was about to be canceled. Despite her phone call, however, the approval was revoked, the article said.

"I've never gone between or accepted one million yen," Katayama, regional revitalization minister, said in an interview with each media organization. "(The article contains) factual errors and is inaccurate."

Claiming that her social reputation was "significantly undermined," Katayama said she is preparing to sue the magazine publisher as soon as possible.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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