13 ministry officials wined and dined by Suga's son

Japan Today -- Feb 22
More communications ministry officials have been found to have been treated to expensive meals by a son of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the ministry said Monday, further widening the scandal that has already brought four senior bureaucrats under scrutiny.

The results of the ministry's internal probe found that 11 of the 13 government officials have or are highly likely to have received favors from stakeholders in violation of the National Public Service Ethics Law.

The officials include Cabinet Public Relations Secretary Makiko Yamada, who was then vice minister for policy coordination at the ministry. Most of them are expected to be reprimand as early as Wednesday.

The 13 officials are said to have been wined and dined on a combined 39 occasions by Seigo Suga or other members of Tohokushinsha Film Corp, a company that offers satellite broadcasting services for which the ministry issues broadcast licenses, it said.

Suga's eldest son has already been found to have dined with Yoshinori Akimoto, director general of the information and communications bureau, and Hironobu Yumoto, deputy director general of the bureau, as well as Yasuhiko Taniwaki and Mabito Yoshida, both vice ministers for policy coordination at the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

The four were the only ones who were given taxi tickets and gifts from the son. Taniwaki received the largest amount of favors worth 118,000 yen, according to the ministry.

On Monday, Suga apologized at a session of the House of Representatives' Budget Committee, saying, "I feel very sorry that my eldest son was involved and public servants violated their ethics code as a result."

Communications minister Ryota Takeda also expressed regret that they had fanned public distrust. But he said the ministry does not believe the broadcasting administration has been affected by such favors.

- Japan Today