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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 July 19 - 25  > Abe’s aide repeatedly claims ‘I don’t remember’ over Kake Gakuen scandal
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2017 July 19 - 25 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Abe’s aide repeatedly claims ‘I don’t remember’ over Kake Gakuen scandal

July 25, 2017

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s aide repetitiously answered, “I don’t remember,” to questions raised by opposition party Dietmembers at an off-session committee meeting held with PM Abe attending in regard to the “Kake Gakuen” scandal.

The House of Representatives Budget Committee on July 24 had an ad hoc meeting to investigate the allegations that the prime minister gave favors to the establishment of a veterinary medicine department at the school corporation Kake Gakuen run by Abe’s friend.

Japanese Communist Party representative Miyamoto Toru took the floor to question parties concerned.

Former Vice Minister of Education Maekawa Kihei and Abe’s special advisor Izumi Hiroto whom Maekawa refers to as “a key person” in the Kake Gakuen issue gave unsworn testimony in the meeting.

Maekawa testified that he was called to the Prime Minister’s Office and was asked by Abe’s right-hand man Izumi to smooth the way for the establishment of a veterinary school at Kake Gakuen. According to Maekawa, Izumi at that time said, “I’m making this demand on behalf of the Prime Minister as he can’t do this himself.” Maekawa revealed that he met Izumi to discuss the Kake Gakuen affairs three times between September 9, 2016 and October 2016.

Regarding this testimony, Izumi said, “I don’t remember anything at all, meaning that I did not say so.” On the other hand, he admitted to the fact that he had said, “It is important to promptly work toward” the creation of a veterinary medicine faculty.

Izumi began applying pressure on Maekawa around the same period of time that the Cabinet Office began requesting that the Ministry of Education approve the opening of a new school in April 2018 by implying that it was of interest to “the highest-level people in the Prime Minister’s Office”.

The Cabinet Office is in charge of national strategic special zones. JCP Miyamoto asked Izumi, “Why did you call Maekawa to ask him to hurry over the head of the Cabinet Office?”

Izumi in response admitted that he is not in charge of the strategic special zone affairs by saying, “I don’t handle that task directly,” and answered, “I didn’t receive any instructions from PM Abe.”

Abe also denied having given any instructions to Izumi, defending his close advisor by saying, “There is nothing out of place,” for Izumi, despite not being in charge, to ask the ministry to promote the establishment of a veterinary medicine department.

JCP Miyamoto pointed out discrepancies in the testimonies of Maekawa and Izumi, and demanded the summoning of all the parties concerned as sworn witnesses.

Past related articles:
> JCP lawmakers question ex-bureaucrat as unsworn witness over ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal [July 11, 2017]
> Shii: Diet discussions on ‘Moritomo’ and ‘Kake’ scandals without Abe is out of the question [July 6, 2017]
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