ANI Photo | Japanese Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister resigns amid bribery allegations

Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader Masatoshi Akimoto resigned from his post of parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister on Friday. The announcement came after bribery allegations amounting to tens of millions of Yen from a wind power company were levelled against him, reported the Kyodo News. 
Kyodo News is a nonprofit cooperative news agency based in Minato, Tokyo. 
The offices of the Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party Lawmaker in Tokyo and China were also searched on Friday, Kyoda News reported. 
The company President was also questioned over the alleged payments made to Akimoto and the lawyer for the company’s President denied the allegations, telling reporters separately that the money was for a racehorse cooperative and was not provided to Mr. Akimoto”.
The publication reported that “A lump sum was given at a certain period of time last year,” the lawyer said, noting it was used to purchase horses and that the president and Akimoto are “acquainted through racehorse breeding.”
Japan Wind Development said in a statement, “There is no proof whatsoever that our company paid bribes to a lawmaker or to any public servants. There is objective evidence to prove this point.”
The report says that Akimoto did not respond to questions from reporters at Haneda airport in Tokyo on Thursday when he returned from an overseas trip.
Akimoto has also served as parliamentary vice minister at the Ministry of Land, infrastructure, transport and Tourism. 
During his stint, he pushed for legislation setting uniform rules for the use of the sea by renewable energy operators, in a bid to promote offshore wind power. The legislation was enacted in November 2018, reported Kyodo News. 
In June that year, he told a lower house committee on land, infrastructure, transport and tourism that “operators’ expectations for the legislation are high.” 
Based on the legislation, the government designated three marine zones in Akita and Chiba prefectures for electricity generation for up to 30 years. The first round of bidding for development rights, held in December 2021, was won by a consortium led by major trading house Mitsubishi Corp, observed by Kyodo News.
Japan Wind Development sought to join that development project, the sources said.
Established in 1999, Japan Wind Development has developed 293 turbines within and outside Japan with a combined output of over 570 megawatts, according to its website, sums up the report by Kyodo News.

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