A former president of Japan Wind Development, currently at the center of a bribery scandal, told executives of the firm that he had asked a lawmaker to make a parliamentary statement in connection with the company’s operations, informed sources said Saturday.
Masayuki Tsukawaki, 64, sent an email to multiple Japan Wind Development executives saying that he urged House of Representatives member Masatoshi Akimoto, 48, who was arrested for allegedly receiving bribes, to ask a question in the country’s parliament about a sea area off the coast of Aomori Prefecture, where the company was aiming to start a power generation business.
The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office has obtained the email as possible evidence of Akimoto having made statements before lawmakers at the request of Tsukawaki.
Akimoto is suspected of receiving a total of around ¥60 million in bribes between March 2019 and June this year from Tsukawaki after the former president allegedly urged him multiple times from February 2019 to make parliamentary statements favorable of the wind power generation firm.
According to the sources, Tsukawaki sent the email in late February 2019 saying that he asked the member of the lower chamber to ask a question about offshore wind power generation in Mutsu Bay in Aomori Prefecture.
The request came after Aomori Prefecture told Japan Wind that parts of the bay were unfit for wind power generation due to possible interference with Maritime Self-Defense Force drills and aircraft instruments. The company had been conducting geological and other surveys in Mutsu Bay as well as holding briefings for nearby residents since 2016.
In a question before the parliament on Feb. 27, 2019, two days after Aomori Prefecture notified the company of the issue, Akimoto called on the government not to excessively restrict offshore wind power operations on the basis of impacts on defense facilities.
“If it does not pose a threat to national defense, offshore wind power should be fully developed in Aomori Prefecture,” the lawmaker said.
In delivering the statement to lawmakers, Akimoto used a map that Aomori Prefecture had provided to Japan Wind, which was conducting an environmental impact assessment at the time.
Akimoto is also believed to have received at his office an unsecured, interest-free loan of ¥30 million from Tsukawaki.
The lawmaker is denying the charges, while the former president has admitted to giving bribes, the sources said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding