Fuyuko Kamisaka, the writer who interviewed Nancy Reagan last Jan. 21 for a Japanese women's magazine, confirmed reports here today that national security adviser Richard V. Allen accepted two wrist watches from her interviewing team, and told several reporters that the second watch was delivered to Allen at the time of the interview session.
Kamisaka's account of the gift of the watches, first reported here today by Japanese newspapers and later confirmed by Kamisaka in an interview with the Kyodo news service, appeared to conflict with statements in Washington by White House officials, who said Allen reported accepting both watches before he became a White House official on Jan. 20, when there was no legal bar to his receiving such gifts.
Kamisaka and other officials of the magazine Shufu no Tomo (Housewife's Companion), could not be reached for comment on Allen's version of the story.
Kyodo reported that according to Kamisaka, a "Japanese interpreter" purchased both watches at a duty-free shop at Narita airport on Jan. 15 en route to the United States and that Kamisaka paid duty on them at Los Angeles airport.
An earlier Japanese press report said that Kamisaka had purchased the watches, intending one for her own personal use.
On Jan. 16, Chizuko Takase, who helped arrange the interview through Allen and acted as intepreter, delivered a gold-plated Seiko Quartz watch to an office Allen was then using in the White House, Kamisaka was quoted in the Kyodo report as saying.
Five days later, Allen accepted a silver-plated watch of similar design after the Jan. 21 interview with Mrs. Reagan, the report said.
The watches were valued at between 30,000 yen ($169) and 38,000 yen ($174) press reports here said.
The Mainichi and Asahi newspapers, major Japanese dailies, carried accounts similar to the Kyodo story in their Nov. 21 morning editions. The reports followed the White House's disclosure last Friday that Allen was given $1,000 by the magazine as a thank you fee for Mrs. Reagan.
Allen has asserted that he gave the money over to a secretary who placed it in an office safe and then forgot about it for eight months. The matter is currently under investigation by U.S. Justice Department officials. U.S. authorities had asked the Tokyo police to question the Japanese involved, according to earlier newspaper reports here.
According to the Kyodo report, Kamisaka said that the watches were purchased at Narita airport on Jan. 15 after Takase, the wife of a Japanese professor and business consultant with a long-standing friendship with Allen, suggested that a souvenir gift for the Allens might be appropriate.
A member of the Kyodo news service staff said the Japanese-language report quoted Kamisaka as saying that Mrs. Takase delivered the gold-plated watch to Allen's office on Jan. 16 to let him know they had arrived in Washington. Takase left the watch at the office without meeting Allen, the report said.
On Jan. 21, it went on, Kamisaka said that Takase handed over a second watch, a silver-plated model, to Allen that Kamisaka had brought with her that day. Takase asked Kamisaka for the watch and then handed it to Allen after the interview, the report said.
Later, Kamisaka said in an interview with the Associated Press that "I'm sure Mrs. Takase gave the second watch to Allen," according to an AP report filed here. However, Kamisaka added that once the interview was finished, she was "embarrassed to ask where the second watch had gone," and did not know for certain who had the second watch.
Kamisaka was quoted by Kyodo as saying that she understood Allen would give the watch over to an unidentified person who was involved in arranging the interview with Mrs. Reagan.
At the Narita duty-free shop, Kamisaka said that Takase had told her she wanted to present a watch to Mrs. Allen "with whom I have a friendly relationship," according to the Asahi report.
Mainichi quoted Kamisaka as saying that she had intended to keep one of the watches for her own personal use, but that both were handed over to Allen in Washington.
Takase told Allen after the Jan. 21 interview, the Mainichi reported, that if the gold-plated watch presented earlier was not suitable, she would exchange it for the silver-plated model. Allen, according to the report, accepted the second watch and said he would pass it on to an "appropriate person."
Kamisaka told Kyodo, today's story said, that she had earlier told Tokyo police investigators about presenting the watches to Allen.