Former lawmaker Toyama admits to illegal loan brokering

Jiji Press
Former Japanese lawmaker Kiyohiko Toyama arrives at Tokyo District Court on Monday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Former Japanese lawmaker Kiyohiko Toyama admitted in court on Monday to illegally brokering loans without being registered as a moneylending service provider.

“I deeply regret causing public distrust in politics,” the 52-year-old former House of Representatives member from Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said in the first hearing of his trial at Tokyo District Court, admitting to charges of violating the moneylending control act.

Prosecutors said that Toyama, who has served as state finance minister, used to broker loans from government-backed Japan Finance Corp. based on requests from his supporters several times a year. Following a surge in demand for JFC special loans introduced in March 2020 to support companies hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, Toyama ordered his secretaries to oversee which businesses wanted to receive such loans.

The businesses were mainly introduced to Toyama by Atsushi Maki, 74, former adviser to solar power company Techno System, who has also been indicted for illegal loan brokering. Toyama used the commissions earned through the brokering to purchase investment trusts and pay living expenses, according to the prosecutors.

The prosecutors also said that special treatment was given on some of the JFC loan deals in question depending on who acted as an intermediary. They said that deals brokered by lawmakers or their secretaries were handled at a special department at JFC’s headquarters and were processed through a faster screening scheme.

Toyama is suspected of illegally brokering loans without required registration on 111 occasions between around March 2020 and June 2021 from JFC to businesses that suffered sales declines due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Of the 111 loan deals, 82 were allegedly handled by Toyama alone. He is suspected of conspiring with Maki on the remaining 29 deals.

Two former secretaries to Toyama were mainly in charge of directly forwarding companies’ loan requests to JFC and asking the state-affiliated lender to introduce officials to serve as contacts. The two, however, avoided indictment as they were limited to subordinate roles.

Besides Toyama and Maki, former Techno System consultant Yutaka Kawashima, 78, and Akira Shibuya, 61, a former secretary to a former Lower House lawmaker from Komeito, have also been indicted without arrest for their alleged involvement in the illegal brokering case via a different channel.