Fukuda Govt Roiled by Scandal

Current finance minister tied to bribery bust of former defense honcho
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2007 10:14 AM CST
Former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya leaves his house for prosecutors office in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007. Prosecutors interrogated a former top Japanese defense official Wednesday over...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In a growing corruption scandal, a former vice defense minister and his wife were arrested today over charges that he awarded contracts to companies that wined and dined him, the AP reports. Takemasa Moriya admits he enjoyed free golf trips and expensive dinners on the tab of the recently arrested owner of two defense companies, but argues the gifts were not bribery.

The arrests further weakened the two-month-old government of PM Yasuo Fukuda, whose current finance minister is also implicated in the scandal. The opposition party alleges that Fukushiro Nukaga had dinner last year with Moriya and the defense contractor, a charge Fukuda himself rebutted, saying Nukaga should remain in his post. Moriya and Nukaga are to be summoned to parliament.