An estimated 21-million Japanese watched the nationally-televised Diet (parliament) hearings on the Lockheed bribery scandal when it resumed on Monday (1 March) Nine witnesses were originally called to testify before the Lower House budget committee, among them former Lockheed President, Carl Kotchian.
GV PAN Tokyo street scenes
SV and CU people watching diet hearings on public TV sets (5 shots)
GV Diet building
Background: An estimated 21-million Japanese watched the nationally-televised Diet (parliament) hearings on the Lockheed bribery scandal when it resumed on Monday (1 March) Nine witnesses were originally called to testify before the Lower House budget committee, among them former Lockheed President, Carl Kotchian.
But when the Diet hearings began, only five of the nine subpoenaed witnesses appeared. The five were each questioned by opposition party members for two hours.
The first witness, Tetsua Ohba, former President of All Nippon Airways, testified that he had concluded an option contract with McDonnell Douglas to buy DC-10 jetliners before his company made the decision to switch to the Lockheed Tri-star jet.
Mr. Ohba said he has resigned from the company in 1970 because of its internal affairs and the question of fictitious loans to the company to purchase wide-bodies jets.
The main witness at the second-round hearings, the former All Nippon president, contradicted testimony given to the committee two weeks earlier by Tokuji Wakasa, the current president of the Airways. Mr. Wakasa had said he had not knowledge of the DC-10 option.
The main figure in the scandal, Yoshio Kodama, again did not appear before the Diet although he was subpoenaed. Doctors certified that he was too ill to testify.
Mr. Kodama; the 65-year-old right wing supporter, appears to hold the key to the alleged bribery of Japanese government officials. He made only one public appearance since February 6th when he was named by Carl kotchian at a U.S. Senate hearing as a paid unofficial agent of Lockheed in Japan.
His lawyer has said his client may have evaded taxes on an undeclared income of about 60-million Yen (approximately two million U.S. dollars) a year, derived mainly as Lockheed's unofficial agent in Japan.
The statement was made as government tax experts started an intense investigation into Mr. Kodama's annual earnings.