Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone said today that three of his aides had bought bargain shares in the company at the center of a stock-profiteering scandal, but he denied any personal involvement in the affair.
"I regret my aides' purchase of shares occurred because of my poor supervision," Nakasone said in a nationally televised news conference. "But I am innocent and played no role in the scandal."
The largest opposition party, the Socialists, expressed dissatisfaction with Nakasone's remarks and repeated demands that the government summon him to testify before Parliament concerning the scandal.
The scandal involves sales to 150 influential politicians and businessmen of bargain-priced shares in Recruit-Cosmos Co. before the stock was listed for public sale. When public trading began, the share prices shot up and the bargain buyers profited handsomely.
The scandal has shaken the government, and prosecutors have arrested eight people on charges of bribery or violating securities laws.
Nakasone, who was prime minister from 1982-87, denied his involvement in the scandal for the first time in an interview last week with CBS News.
Today's news conference marked his first public comments to the Japanese on the affair.