Tsugio Takamori, executive editor of the Japanese women's magazine that handed over a $1,000 gratuity for Nancy Reagan to U.S. National Security Adviser Richard V. Allen said today the money was "meant directly for Mrs. Reagan and not for any person who cooperated" in setting up the Jan. 21 interview with the first lady at the White House.
The magazine's deputy editor, Yoshiko Kimoto, has said meanwhile that she believes the magazine received a receipt for the thank-you fee by mail from an unidentified source on the U.S. side. Takamori said today he is not aware of any receipt.
In an interview at the magazine's Tokyo office, he confirmed that the magazine paid a thank-you fee of several hundred dollars to Chizuko Takase, who helped arrange the interview and acted as interpreter during the meeting. Takase and her husband are longstanding friends of Allen's.
Allen said he had received the envelope containing the gratuity, an established custom in certain Japanese publishing circles, because he did not want to embarrass the Japanese journalists or Mrs. Reagan. He gave the money to a secretary, who put it in a safe where it lay forgotten for eight months. The matter is now under Justice Department investigation.
Takamori's statement today appeared to support Allen's denial that he initiated the subject of an honorarium or even discussed it with the Japanese. He said in a statement Saturday: "As to whether I asked for or ever expected to receive any honorarium, gratuity or fee, the answer is categorically 'no.' Nor was such a matter ever raised with me by anyone at any time."
After denying Friday that he arranged the interview, he said Saturday he had fielded Mrs. Takase's request because it came from "the wife of a friend of many years' standing."
The writer of the article in Shufo no Tomo (The Housewife's Companion) and Executive Editor Takamori confirmed separately Saturday that Allen played a major role in setting up the interview, including inviting them to Blair House to discuss arrangements and introducing them there to then President-elect Reagan.
At her home in the Tokyo suburbs last night, Mrs. Takase refused to comment on any aspect of the matter. Asked about Allen's reported role, she said, "It is no concern of mine."
Kimoto, who was not available for comment today, said in an earlier telephone interview about the receipt that "I don't think that it was in the name of Allen." Obtaining a receipt for honorariums paid to interviewees, however, "is a normal procedure," according to the custom of Japanese magazines, she said.
Takamori said today that "as far as I know, I don't think the company got a receipt." He said he would check the matter with the magazine's accounting staff.
Kimoto said that although it is standard practice to request a receipt when money is handed over, the interview was with Mrs. Reagan was "rushed" and "the atmosphere was not suitable to get a receipt." After her return to Japan in late January, however, she said "I think the magazine received a receipt."
When Takamori cleared the payment with the company accountant, he said, "I think I included it in general assignment expenses for which we don't need a receipt" for Japanese tax purposes.
Takamori said the magazine has no specific file recording the arrangements for the interview, including a copy of a receipt.
Takamori said that the arrangement of the gratuity was "just according to normal practice." Asked why the magazine had not paid a similar gratuity to Rosalynn Carter when it interviewed her during her husband's term of office, he said he was unaware of how that decision had been reached because he became executive editor in September 1980, after the interview with Mrs. Carter had taken place.
Takamori said he understood that the arrangements for that interview had been made through the Japanese Embassy in Washington.
Takamori said that Kimoto showed him a letter addressed to her from Mrs. Reagan which she acknowledged the meeting with the Shufu no Tomo team several months after it had taken place.
Mrs. Reagan has said through an aide that she does not remember giving an interview to journalists from the magazine, but she does have a "faint recollection" of a brief photo session with them.