P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said, in internationally televised comments, he had “not made illicit gains” from his political funds.

He was speaking in Tokyo on Thursday following the indictment of two of his former aides in a case of alleged illegal donations for his political campaigns.

Mr. Hatoyama said he had “not lined [his] pockets”. He would, therefore, continue to carry his political work forward. His comments that he was not involved in slush deals coincided with his 100th day in office as Prime Minister.

He had led his Democratic Party of Japan to an electoral triumph on a campaign pledge of change from the alleged corrupt ways of the previous administrations.

He was also reported to have asserted at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday that he would not step down. He would, however, apologise to the nation for the episode concerning his indicted former aides.

He was further quoted as pledging to pay gift tax on the sum of 1.26 billion yen he received from his mother from 2002.

At the centre of the controversy are the false entries alleged to have been made by Mr. Hatoyama’s former aides in the statutory reports relating to his political funds.

Not clearly outlined so far are the legal nuances of the links, if any, between these “false entries” and the money said to have been received by him from his mother.