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DPJ thinks e-mail ruckus over, to pick Diet affairs chief quickly+
[March 01, 2006]

DPJ thinks e-mail ruckus over, to pick Diet affairs chief quickly+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TOKYO, March 1_(Kyodo) _ The Democratic Party of Japan is seeking to pick a new Diet affairs chief as early as possible as it believes the uproar about an e-mail allegation has been settled with the apology by DPJ lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata and executives of the main opposition party, DPJ lawmakers said Wednesday.

Yoshihiko Noda, whose resignation as DPJ's Diet affairs chief was approved Tuesday, again apologized at a party executives' meeting for disrupting the Diet by alleging that Livedoor Co. founder Takafumi Horie had in an e-mail ordered a payment to a son of ruling Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe.

"I failed to sufficiently check the questions" that Nagata was to ask at a Diet session over the e-mail allegation, and "I have made a misjudgment," Noda was quoted as telling the executives' meeting.

"I again have to deeply apologize to LDP Secretary General Takebe and his second son for pursuing the issue in a rude manner."

The DPJ issued a statement on Tuesday, saying it has determined that the e-mail text which Nagata cited as evidence of his allegation is not authentic.

Nagata also apologized Tuesday in a news conference for disrupting the Diet with an allegation that had been investigated insufficiently and for the delay in explaining the matter, while apologizing to Takebe and his son.

Nagata, however, said the probe into the allegation will continue.

Takebe and other LDP executives, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, have lashed out at Nagata for his failure to declare that the e-mail is fake, despite the apologies by Nagata and party executives, including DPJ chief Seiji Maehara,.

"Judging from (Nagata's) news conference, it appears that Nagata does not understand the seriousness of what he has said or how he has behaved," Koizumi told reporters on Wednesday.

Koizumi said it will take some more time to completely settle the issue.

Nagata said Tuesday that he would accept responsibility and the consequences of his actions, including a Diet disciplinary step.

Koizumi said it is up to the House of Representatives steering committee to discuss a disciplinary step.

Executives of the LDP and its ruling coalition partner the New Koemito party agreed that the matter of whether to refer Nagata to a disciplinary panel of the lower house will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday of the steering committee.

Yoshitaka Murata, chief deputy chairman of the LDP's Diet Affairs Committee, said Nagata's views about the authenticity of the e-mail are different from those of DPJ executives, and details about a disciplinary action will be decided after listening to explanations by the DPJ.

The DPJ imposed on Nagata its heaviest-ever punishment by suspending his status as a DPJ member for half a year, but allowed him to stay as a lower house member.

The DPJ also formally withdrew its demand that the Diet invoke its investigative powers to look into a bank account which the DPJ had claimed was involved in the alleged money deal.

Nagata presented an e-mail copy before a lower house panel session on Feb. 16. Dated 3:21 p.m. on Aug. 26, 2005, the e-mail copy read, "Please urgently remit 30 million yen by the morning of Aug. 29" as election consultancy fees, and had Horie's surname at the bottom.

DPJ sources have said the sender and recipient of the e-mail have been found to be the same person -- an informant to Nagata.

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