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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 23 - 29  > Release of Moritomo-related records corners PM Abe
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2018 May 23 - 29 [POLITICS]

Release of Moritomo-related records corners PM Abe

May 24, 2018
The Finance Ministry on May 23 submitted to the Diet negotiation records regarding the national land sale to Moritomo Gakuen at an extraordinarily huge discount price along with original documents showing how a huge discount to the Osaka-based school corporation was determined.

The released negotiation records again turned the spotlight on the alleged involvement of Prime Minister Abe’s wife Akie in the scandal over the state-owned land sale to Moritomo. Prime Minister Abe in past Diet deliberations reiterated, "If my wife or I myself were found to be linked, then I would resign as Prime Minister and as a Dietmember." The release of Moritomo-related records has PM Abe cornered.

In the 950-page land-deal records, the name of PM Abe’s wife appeared at least 10 times.

For example, there is a memorandum dated November 10, 2015 which recorded an inquiry made by a government official serving as assistant to the first lady, Tani Saeko, and the response from the Finance Ministry. According to the memo, Tani put a query to the ministry after the then Moritomo Gakuen president Kagoike Yasunori asked Akie for preferential treatment in the land negotiation with the ministry’s local bureau in Osaka. Two days after the query, a Finance Ministry official in charge of national asset management contacted Tani by telephone.

This record evidenced Kagoike’s testimony under oath before the Diet last year. In the Diet hearing, Kagoike testified that he solicited the help of PM Abe’s wife and that Tani made inquiries to the ministry.

Meanwhile, the released original documents, totaling 3,000 pages, also point to the influence of the first lady in the land-deal scandal.

To cite an example, a report dated May 8, 2014 from the Kinki local bureau to the Finance Ministry quoted Kagoike saying that Akie advised him to go forward with the land deal. At the time, the local finance authority intended to terminate negotiations with Moritomo Gakuen. In a memorandum which was drew up on May 23, 2014 after discussions with the ministry, the bureau reversed its position and decided to advance the deal with Moritomo.

Following the release of Moritomo-related records and documents, the opposition forces, including the Japanese Communist Party, held a press conference. JCP lawmaker Fujino Yasuhumi expressed his determination to work even harder to uncover the whole truth.

Past related articles:
> Ex-Moritomo president: PM’s wife knew how the land deal was progressing [March 24, 2018]
> Finance Ministry’s falsification of ‘Moritomo’-related documents sparks public outcry [March 13, 2018]
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