Ldp Lawmaker's Office Searched Over Casino Project

LDP lawmaker's office searched over casino project

Tokyo prosecutors have searched offices of a ruling party lawmaker in connection with a Chinese firm that is suspected of bringing undeclared cash into Japan.

The special investigative team raided offices of Tsukasa Akimoto, a Lower House member of the Liberal Democratic Party, in Tokyo on Thursday.

The Chinese firm is interested in entering Japan's integrated resort projects that will include casinos. People involved with the Chinese firm are suspected of bringing tens of thousands of dollars' worth of cash into Japan in violation of the foreign exchange act.

Prosecutors had earlier searched an office in Tokyo related to the Chinese firm, as well as the homes of two former aides of Akimoto, in connection with the case.

They had also questioned Akimoto on a voluntary basis.

Japan's Diet enacted a bill into law on integrated resorts, which include casinos, in July 2018.

Akimoto doubled as state minister of the Cabinet Office and Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism until October 2018, and was in charge of integrated resorts.

In August 2017, just before he was appointed state minister, Akimoto gave a keynote speech at a symposium on integrated resorts held in Okinawa, southern Japan. The Chinese firm's top executive also gave a speech at the same event.

Speaking to NHK on Saturday, Akimoto denied involvement in any wrong doing. He said all he can do is watch over the investigation.