The Japan Times:

Seiko Noda, the state minister in charge of consumer affairs, said Friday that networking marketer Amway Japan Ltd. bought eight tickets for her fundraising party for ¥160,000 from 2002 to April this year.

Noda, however, ruled out stepping down over the issue, telling reporters that Amway’s financial contribution to her had nothing to do with comments she made 12 years ago in favor of the industry.

Noda, a lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said she will return the money to the company.

During the House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting Thursday, Noda said she asked questions in a Diet committee 12 years ago in favor of the multilevel marketing industry, arguing that one-sided criticism against it might discourage the creation of a new industry.

On Friday, she denied that she raised questions at the company’s request or in exchange for political donations.