Saitama Fukaya Case

Like the Kagoshima Shibushi Case of 2006, this case shows the relentless pursuit of innocent citizens for political gains.


Assemblyman released after arrest for vote-buying- lambastes investigators

(Mainichi Japan) May 28, 2011

Assemblyman Katsuhiko Nagata leaves Fukaya Police Station in Fukaya, Saitama Prefecture, on May 27. (Mainichi)

FUKAYA, Saitama -- A municipal assembly member here -- arrested for vote-buying but released on May 27 after reports of coercive police interrogations of key witnesses -- has bitterly criticized investigators. (See English reportage below).

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Assemblyman released after arrest for vote-buying lambastes investigators

(Mainichi Japan) May 28, 2011

FUKAYA, Saitama -- A municipal assembly member here -- arrested for vote-buying but released on May 27 after reports of coercive police interrogations of key witnesses -- has bitterly criticized investigators.

"Questioning lasted for up to 12 hours a day, and was unfair. That's not what police in a democratic country are allowed to do," local municipal assembly member Katsuhiko Nagata, 67, told a news conference here. "There are many problems involving the way investigators questioned me."

Nagata apologized to the about 20 witnesses allegedly coerced by police into admitting he had wined and dined them in return for their support in the April municipal election. "I'm sorry for causing them stress and suffering," he said.

Nagata said he had not known that the 3,000-yen participation fee for a dinner party he organized for his supporters was not enough to cover the actual 4,900-yen per-person cost.

"My wife paid for the dinner. I hadn't known that the 3,000-yen participation fee wasn't enough to cover the cost until an investigator told me about it," he said, adding that he will collect about 1,900 yen each from the participants to cover the shortfall.


Investigators suspected of coercing 19 people to lie in assembly member's vote-buying case

SAITAMA -- Prefectural police investigators are suspected of coercing at least 19 local residents to provide false testimonies that they were illegally wined and dined by a city assembly member under arrest for buying votes, it has emerged.

Moreover, some of the residents revealed that there is a memorandum showing that at least some of them paid for the meal.

Lawyer Masaaki Shirai, who was consulted by some of them, lodged a protest with Saitama Prefectural Police over the high-handed manner that they questioned his clients.

Close attention will be paid as to whether the Saitama District Public Prosecutors Office will form a case against the couple as the period of their detention expires on May 28.

Fukaya Municipal Assembly member Katsuhiko Nagata, 67, and his wife Fumie, 64, are under arrest on suspicion of wining and dining 28 voters during a dinner meeting in February in return for participating in a campaign for him in an assembly election in April.

However, 20 of them who were interviewed by the Mainichi Shimbun denied the allegations and claimed they paid 3,000 yen each as a participation fee for the meeting.

Nineteen of them said they were forced by investigators to sign depositions stating that they did not pay the fees. The other, who has maintained that he paid the fee, was questioned for a total of 12 days.

The assembly member and his wife have also denied the vote-buying allegations by claiming that they collected participation fees from the attendees.

In late April, Saitama Prefectural Police began to question the attendees of the meeting.

A man who signed his deposition admitting to the allegations on the fifth day of police questioning said an investigator pressured him to admit to the allegations. "You're the only one who denied it. You can immediately go home if you sign a deposition," he quoted the investigator as telling him.

Two others told the Mainichi that investigators threatened to summon their children for questioning over the case.

Moreover, participants in the dinner meeting said there is a memorandum confirming that at least some of them paid participation fees.

The document lists up to 31 individuals' names, and a kanji character indicating participants paid the fee is written down next to the names of some of them.

A number of attendees have told the Mainichi that Nagata's wife was checking the list when she received money from participants.

"I guess the assembly member or his wife wrote down whether the attendees paid the fee," one of them said.

Lawyer Shirai bitterly criticized investigators over the way they questioned the local residents. "Investigators wouldn't listen to what the residents said unless their statements were consistent with police's scenario of the incident. Police persistently interrogated them in a high-handed manner and compiled depositions against the facts."

A high-ranking official with the prefectural police defended the way they questioned the local residents.

"It's true that the questioning took a long time because we tried to interview them in an appropriate manner by securing enough time to rest," he said. "We can't just discontinue our questioning simply because they denied the allegations."

Regarding the memorandum, a prefectural police official claims that at least one of the residents told investigators that he later added his name at the request of the assembly member.

Click here for the original Japanese story

(Mainichi Japan) May 26, 2011


虚偽証言強要疑惑:会費支払い確認メモ 参加者「書いた」


 メモはB5判の紙2枚で、永田容疑者を含む会合参加者30人全員の名前が手書きされている。1枚のメモの冒頭には「永田勝彦氏 後援会について」とあり、会合のあった2月13日の日付と時間、場所とともに、15人の名前が横書きで記されている。8人の名前の横に「○」、6人の横に「○未 済」と書き込まれ、当日参加しなかった1人の横には「←欠席」とある。







毎日新聞 2011526日 1500

2011/June 23






 ◇解説 任意捜査 配慮足りず





 ◇住民ら人権救済 日弁連申し立て



2月13日 埼玉県深谷市内のレストランで永田勝彦市議夫妻が住民28人と会合

4月24日 深谷市議選で永田市議が当選

  25日 県警が住民の本格的な取り調べを開始

5月4日 住民が集会を開き「事実に反する調書への署名を強要された」との誓約書を作成し県警に提出

  8日 県警が永田夫妻を公職選挙法違反容疑で逮捕

  18日 住民から相談を受けた弁護士が県警とさいたま地検に抗議文を送付

  26日 住民側の抗議を毎日新聞が報道。警が調査を開始

  27日 地検が永田夫妻を処分保留で釈放

6月22日 地検が永田夫妻を起訴猶予処分。