• Crime & Courts

Former Agriculture Minister Yoshikawa Said to Admit Receipt of Cash

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Public Prosecutors Office building, which houses the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, is seen in Chiyoda, Ward, Tokyo.

Former agriculture minister Takamori Yoshikawa, 70, has admitted that he received cash from a former head of major egg producer Akita Foods Co., based in Hiroshima Prefecture, according to sources.

On Monday, the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office questioned Yoshikawa on a voluntary basis on suspicion that the businessperson gave him ¥5 million in cash.

According to the sources, Yoshikawa said the former head “left the cash. I was going to return it sometime in the future.”

The former head is suspected of handing over the ¥5 million between the autumn of 2018 and the summer of 2019 to Yoshikawa, who was then the agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister.

In September 2018, an international organization drew up a draft guideline calling on member countries to improve living environments for chickens from the viewpoint of animal welfare. The former head was opposed to the draft and made some requests related to this issue to Yoshikawa.

The prosecutors suspect this case may constitute the crime of accepting a bribe. Yoshikawa is hospitalized for treatment of chronic heart failure and other ailments, and the prosecutors are investigating the case carefully.

Yoshikawa has already resigned as a Diet member.