Photo/IllutrationLawmaker Mikio Shimoji tells reporters in Naha on Jan. 7 that he has submitted his resignation to his party, Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party). (Shinichi Fujiwara)

NAHA--Lawmaker Mikio Shimoji on Jan. 7 submitted his resignation to Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) after admitting he received 1 million yen ($9,200) from a Chinese company now embroiled in a bribery scandal.

Shimoji, 58, said he has not decided on whether he will step down as a Lower House member.

“I would like to make up my mind before the ordinary Diet session starts,” he said.

At a news conference here on Jan. 6, Shimoji admitted that he received the money from Masahiko Konno, 48, who was an adviser to the company, 500.com, in October 2017.

Konno was arrested last month on suspicion of giving bribes to lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto, who was also arrested, in connection with 500.com’s plans to operate a casino in Japan.

Shimoji denied granting any favors to the company.

The Political Fund Control Law bans donations from foreigners or foreign companies. In addition, the 1-million-yen donation was not recorded in Shimoji’s political expense reports.

Shimoji said he discussed the matter with senior officials of his support group.

“I decided to leave the party early to avoid hurting its brand,” he told reporters.

But the opposition party may have other plans.

“The party should judge this matter in the harshest way possible,” Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura, who serves as deputy leader of Nippon Ishin, said on Jan. 7.

His words indicated that the party will not accept Shimoji’s resignation but may expel him instead.

Another adviser to the Chinese company said it provided money to four other lawmakers, who are all members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. They have all denied receiving money from 500.com.

One of them, Masahisa Miyazaki, a Justice Ministry parliamentary secretary, 54, repeated his denial to reporters on Jan. 7: “I have never received any money, not even 1 yen.”

(This article was written by Shinichi Fujiwara and Shohei Sasagawa.)