Tourism Firm Seen behind Arrested Lawmaker's Hokkaido Trip

Society

Tokyo, Dec. 27 (Jiji Press)--Japanese lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto, who was arrested Wednesday for suspected bribery, made a family trip to Hokkaido, apparently being called on to do so by a tourism company that was planning to launch a casino-featuring integrated resort in the northernmost Japan prefecture, it was learned Friday.

The charges against Akimoto, 48, former state minister in charge of IRs at the Cabinet Office, include receiving about 700,000 yen in bribes from Chinese gambling-related company 500.com in the form of expenses for the travel being covered by the Shenzhen-based firm.

Sources said a senior official of the tourism company based in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, called on Akimoto to travel to the Hokkaido village of Rusutsu, where it was planning to open the IR.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigation team suspects that the 500.com side, which is believed to have been keen to join the Sapporo firm's casino resort project, used the tourism company to set up the bribery scheme.

During Akimoto's family trip to Rusutsu in February 2018, the lawmaker in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, a person related to 500.com, the Rusutsu village mayor and senior officials of the Hokkaido government held a meeting at a Rusutsu resort facility operated by the Sapporo company, according to the sources. A senior official of the Sapporo firm is also seen to have participated in the meeting.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press