Japan ex-defence minister denies receiving China money in casino case

In a photo taken on Oct 20, 2018, Japan's Minister of Defence Takeshi Iwaya attends the Asean-Japan Defence Ministers' Informal Meeting in Singapore.
In a photo taken on Oct 20, 2018, Japan's Minister of Defence Takeshi Iwaya attends the Asean-Japan Defence Ministers' Informal Meeting in Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - Japan's former defence minister Takeshi Iwaya denied receiving money from a Chinese company involved in a casino bribery scandal.

"I absolutely deny it," Mr Iwaya, a politician from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said in a televised press conference on Saturday (Jan 4).

"From the perspective of laws regulating political funds as well, it's impossible that I received donations from a foreign firm."

Tokyo prosecutors arrested a ruling party lawmaker last month on suspicion of receiving bribes from the Chinese company seeking to invest in the casino sector, dealing a blow to already unpopular plans to open the country to the gaming industry.

Local media reported earlier the Chinese company under investigation said that five lawmakers including Iwaya had also received around 1 million yen (S$12,488) each.

Mr Iwaya has been a member of the ruling party's gambling resorts project team.