The Japanese journalists who handed national security affairs adviser Richard V. Allen $1,000 after they had an interview with Nancy Reagan said today that they had originated the idea of a thank-you payment intended for Mrs. Reagan. At the same time, they said that Allen had been deeply involved in making arrangements for the interview.
Fuyuko Kamisaka, a well-known free-lance writer who conducted the interview for Shufu no Tomo magazine of Tokyo, said that she visited Allen at Blair House at Allen's invitation two days before the Jan. 21 interview to discuss the arrangements with him. Moreover, Kamisaka asserted, Allen introduced her briefly to then president-elect Reagan, who, she said, assured her that the interview would take place.
Allen issued a statement in Washington today asserting that he had never asked for nor expected any honorarium in connection with the interview, and said that he did nothing more than pass on to others the request for an interview that came to him from "the wife of a friend of many years' standing."
The executive editor of Shufu no Tomo (The Housewife's Companion) said here that his company took the initiative in arranging the fee, an established form of thanks in Japanese weekly and monthly magazine circles. The money was given to Allen by one of the three women present at the interview with Mrs. Reagan. Allen said Friday he gave the cash to a secretary, who put it in an office safe where it lay forgotten for eight months.
Executive Editor Tsugio Takamori said in a telephone interview today that she had tentatively fixed the figure of $1,000 in discussions with Deputy Editor Yoshiko Kimoto after Kamisaka had approached the magazine and proposed the interview. While awaiting approval of the interview request, which had been sent by letter to the White House, Kimoto reported, "I was asked by a Japanese go-between what the gratuity would be. When I told this person we were thinking about $1,000, the go-between replied, 'That's fine.' " It was not possible to establish the date of this conversation.
Kimoto reufsed to identify the go-between, although she did not deny that it was Mrs. Chizuko Takase, the third member of their party. Mrs. Takase and her husband reportedly have been longstanding friends of Allen. "I leave that up to your imagination," Kimoto said.
In Washington, a White House official identified the woman mentioned by Allen in his statement as Mrs. Takase.
Kamisaka, who conducted the interview in the company of Kimoto and Takase, who acted as interpreter for the group, confirmed in a telephone interview today that she met Allen at Blair House on Jan. 19, two days before the meeting with Mrs. Reagan. At Blair House, she discussed the schedule with Allen through an interpreter.
Kamisaka confirmed the story in her March article that she and her colleagues received a phone call directly from Allen, who told them to come to Blair House immediately. The trio then had been in Washington since Jan. 15.
It was after they arrived at the presidential guest residence across from the White House, according to Kamisaka's report, that Allen introduced them to President-elect Reagan.
In a separate telephone interview, Kimoto said she also met Allen at Blair House on the same occasion. She also confirmed that she handed an envelope containing the thank-you fee to someone in Mrs. Reagan's party at the end of the Jan. 21 interview. She said, "I don't remember his face, but I was under the impression he was a close aide to Mr. Reagan."
"I had such a case of stage fright and all the men around me looked so big," she explained, "that I couldn't tell who was who. When the interview was over, I thought I must give the money to someone, so I just handed it to a tall man. I don't remember what he looked like."
Takase, the third member of the group, is, along with her husband Tamotsu, known in Tokyo as a close friend of Allen's. Tamotsu Takase serves as a commercial consultant to a number of Japanese corporate and government interests and has a long-time commercial and social relationship with Allen. Mrs. Takase could not be reached for comment, but Takamori, the magazine's executive editor, confirmed today that Mrs. Takase had helped arrange the interview.
A Kyodo News Service report also quoted Mrs. Takase as saying that she had helped arrange the interview and added that she and her husband have been friends of Allen and his wife for the past 15 years. According to the report, Mrs. Takase said she knew nothing of the payment of money to Allen.
Kimoto said of the fee, "We she and Takamori discussed how much we should give for the thank-you fee and we decided that $1,000 would be a reasonable figure. We thought there might be a problem in giving money to a public servant, but we weren't sure whether Mrs. Reagan qualified as one."
Later Kimoto said she understood that the money would be donated to charity and, she said, "We thought that was a very good idea." She said that after her return to Tokyo from Washington, she read a letter from the U.S. capital indicating that the money would go to charity, although she said she does not remember who wrote it.
Kimoto explained that offering thank-you money for interviews "is just standard practice in our business. This was a very important interview for us. I don't see what all the fuss is about."
In the chatty style of her March article, author Kamisaka described at length how Mrs. Takase had acted to help set up the interview and strongly suggested that Mrs. Takase had contacted Allen on the matter. Kamisaka wrote that she first learned of the Takases' relationship with Allen when she met Mrs. Takase in a Tokyo dress shop in December of last year.
Mrs. Takase explained, the article said, that she and her husband were close family friends of the Allens. "Now, here in my presence was a person who had an intimate relationship with the assistant to the president," Kamisaka wrote. "It was then that the idea for the interview with Mrs. Reagan flashed through my mind."
Throughout her seven-page article, Kamisaka indicates that Allen played a key role in helping to arrange the meting with Mrs. Reagan. Asked about Allen's denial Friday that he set up the interview," Kamisaka said, "That's really funny because without the assistance of Mr. Allen the interview would never have been realized." Allen Denies He Made Arrangements for Interview
Following is the text of the statement issued yesterday by White House National Security Affairs Adviser Richard V. Allen:
Several questions which have been raised in connection with this matter require a further response from me.
As to whether I asked for or ever expected to receive any honorarium, gratuitty or fee, the answer is categorically "no." Nor was such a matter ever raised with me by anyone at any time.
As to whether I actually arranged the meeting, the answer is likewise "no." I did receive the initial request that there be a meeting for the purpose of an interview, which I passed to others for evaluation, handling and decision.
The request for the meeting originated with the wife of a friend of many years' standing. Her husband and I had been academic colleagues, and later we had individually served as business consultants to several organizations and companies. There has been no financial relationship between us.
While the Justice Department has the matter under review, I plan no further statements.