Minister admits dining with NTT president in potential ethics law breach

Japan Times -- Mar 19
Communications minister Ryota Takeda admitted Thursday that he dined with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. President Jun Sawada, as had been reported by a weekly magazine.

"It is true that I joined the dinner," Takeda said at a meeting of the communications committee of the House of Representatives.

Takeda said that he left the table after having two to three glasses of beer without ordering anything to eat, and that he paid Y10,000.

"I think my attendance at the gathering was not something that conflicts with the Cabinet's ministerial code of conduct," Takeda said, noting that he did not receive any request from participants regarding the ministry's approval for specific matters.

His action could be a violation of the National Public Service Ethics Law prohibiting central government officials from receiving favors from companies in sectors they regulate. Meals expected to cost more than Y10,000 must also be declared beforehand.

- Japan Times