Review Panel on Dinner Scandal to Be Fully Made Up of Outsiders


Tokyo, March 12(Jiji Press)--Japan’s communications minister Ryota Takeda unveiled a plan Friday to have only third-party members comprise a committee to investigate whether the wining and dining of senior communications ministry officials by interested companies affected public administration.

This means a shift away from the ministry’s initial plan to have Masayoshi Shintani, state minister for communications, head the investigation panel, whose establishment was decided following the revelation of the dining scandal involving the ministry and companies including Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. <9432>. The third-party members to be making up the panel will likely include former prosecutors.

Past ministers, state ministers and parliamentary vice ministers are expected to be among those to be covered by the panel’s probe. Such people include Seiko Noda, executive acting secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Sanae Takaichi, an LDP lawmaker in the House of Representatives. The two admitted that they dined with the NTT side when they served as communications minister.

Takeda told a press conference that he will consider the matter, including what to do with past officials who have filled the three highest posts in the communications ministry, while seeking advice from experts.

On a Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine report that said a state-paid secretary of Shintani dined with the NTT side, Takeda said the ministry has confirmed that the secretary joined the dinner in question.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press