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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 22 - 28  > Kagoike’s testimony damages Abe gov’t
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2017 March 22 - 28 [POLITICS]

Kagoike’s testimony damages Abe gov’t

March 25, 2017
The president of the scandal-hit school operator based in Osaka, Kagoike Yasunori, testified at a Diet hearing as a sworn witness and presented evidence showing that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s wife had been involved in the sale of the state-owned land at a giveaway price. His testimony sent a shock wave through the Abe government and ruling parties.

Until recently, PM Abe had insisted that he would “resign as Prime Minister and as a Diet member” if he and his wife were found to be involved in the suspicious sale of the state land.

An ex-cabinet member from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said, “Why did they summon Kagoike to the Diet? The LDP Diet Affairs Committee was originally reluctant to call him, but the Prime Minister’s Office approved his appearance. PM Abe and people around him may have been confident that they could refute Kagoike’s claims at the hearing. On the contrary, serious new allegations surfaced.” A government official said, “They are increasingly getting bogged down with this matter.”

At the Upper House Budget Committee meeting on March 24, PM Abe denied his wife’s involvement in the questionable deal. He claimed repeatedly that the fax presented by Kagoike as evidence of the First Lady’s engagement is “no more than an administrative response to an inquiry”.

On the same day, the Diet affairs committee chairs of the four opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, held a meeting and agreed to demand the summoning of Abe Akie and several other people implicated in the scandal to the parliament as sworn witnesses.

However, the governing coalition rejected their demand, turning its back on efforts to uncover the truth. An LDP member pointed out, “Nearly 90% of the people harbor suspicions about the land deal. The more the government and ruling parties try to avoid this issue, the more they will be backed into a corner.”
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