TOKYO (TR) – A Kobe city councilor romantically linked to idol-turned-lawmaker Eriko Imai on Monday indicated that he will resign amid accusations that he misappropriated more 700 million yen in public funds, reports TBS News (Aug. 28).
Ken Hashimoto, 37, said in a statement to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that he understands his responsibility over claims by an article appearing last week in tabloid Shukan Shincho that he used 720 million yen in public funds for the printing of circulars that never materialized.
“Causing more confusion as member of the assembly is something that I should not do,” Hashimoto said. He planned to resign on Tuesday.
Prior to the release of the article, Hashimoto denied wrongdoing. “There were no fake orders,” the councilor said at a press conference on August 23. However, the councilor was unable to provide sufficient evidence to back up his claim, only saying that the design and printing companies commissioned for the work “exist.”
One company said via a lawyer receipts for work were made for Hashimoto but the circulars were not printed.
In an issue of Shincho released last month, the magazine linked Hashimoto, who is married, to Imai, a former member of pop group Speed. In July of last year, Imai, a native of Okinawa Prefecture, won an upper house seat as a member of the LDP.
Hashimoto later indicated through the LDP that the misappropriated funds will be returned.