Ex-Egg Firm Head Admits Bribing Former Japan Farm Minister

Society

Tokyo, June 28 (Jiji Press)--A former head of an egg production firm on Monday admitted giving 5 million yen in bribes in 2018-2019 to then Japanese agriculture minister Takamori Yoshikawa.

Yoshiki Akita, 87, the former boss of Akita Foods, based in the city of Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan, pleaded guilty during the first hearing in his trial over the high-profile corruption case at Tokyo District Court.

In their opening statement, public prosecutors claimed that the money was intended to obtain Yoshikawa's help for preventing international animal welfare standards for better environments for livestock that were being drafted at the time from working against domestic industries and for easing eligibility criteria for loans from government-affiliated Japan Finance Corp. to poultry farmers.

According to the indictment, Akita is suspected of handing 5 million yen in bribes on three occasions to Yoshikawa, 70, also a former lawmaker of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, at a Tokyo hotel or Yoshikawa's office between November 2018 and August 2019, when he was agriculture minister, for his favor for the poultry industry.

On the first occasion, Akita put an envelope containing 2 million yen into Yoshikawa's pocket at a hotel to celebrate him on becoming agriculture minister, the prosecutors said. At a meeting at Yoshikawa's office, Akita left an envelope with cash on the table when exiting the room, saying, "This is a document detailing my requests, so please read it," according to the prosecutors.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press