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Hosokawa tries to appease critics

The Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa tried in vain to placate an opposition angry over two loans taken while he was governor of Kumamoto prefecture, Reuter reports from Tokyo. 'I have released public mortgage records on the loan from Sagawa,' Hosokawa told critics at a parliamentary budget committee session. 'I would not have left public records if I were going to use the money as slush funds for my campaign,' he said.

The affair stems from a 1982 loan he took from Sagawa Kyubin, a trucking firm already notorious for its role in bribery scandals that drove the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from power after four decades.