Mayor confirms ‘loans,’ denies ties to nuclear waste site via The Asahi Shimbun

MINAMI-OSUMI, Kagoshima Prefecture–The mayor here received 8 million yen ($71,500) in unreported “loans” but returned the money apparently after lenders complained he wasn’t following through on promises to bring a nuclear waste disposal site to the town.

Toshihiko Morita, 59, told a news conference on Dec. 20 that he accepted a total of 10 million yen from four people over two occasions before the mayoral election in April 2009.

But he emphasized that the money was “personal loans” for his business and had nothing to do with his political activities.


Morita denied any relation between the money he received and the letter of proxy.

The three individuals said that in October 2017, they demanded Morita return their money, citing no progress in courting the nuclear waste facility.

The following month, Morita repaid the 8 million yen.

It was not clear if the mayor repaid the additional 2 million yen, nor the identity of the person who provided that money.


An official in charge of Morita’s campaign told The Asahi Shimbun that the money was accepted as a “campaign fund.” But Morita’s election campaign income and expenditure report did not list the sum, a possible violation of the Public Offices Election Law.

That campaign report was destroyed after the expiration of the three-year preservation period set by the town.


In a report released in July 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees the nuclear industry, described potential candidate sites across the country based on geological and other factors. The report said most of the land in Minami-Osumi is “favorable” as a location for a dumping ground.

The town, with a population of nearly 7,300 on the southern tip of the main island of Kyushu, considered hosting a final disposal site in 2007, when Morita’s predecessor was in office.

Morita said he will continue to oppose the hosting of the radioactive waste disposal site.

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