Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

References to Shinzo Abe removed from documents in cronyism scandal

References to Shinzo Abe removed from documents in cronyism scandal

Tokyo- Japan's finance ministry admitted to doctoring key documents related to a favouritism scandal dogging Shinzo Abe, a ruling lawmaker said Monday, as a new poll suggested the affair is hitting the prime minister's popularity.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and his wife Akie at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan February 28, 2017.

The altered documents relate to the 2016 sale of state land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen in Osaka at one-seventh of the appraised value with the alleged involvement of first lady Akie Abe, who supported the school's ultra-nationalistic education policy.

"It is inconceivable that the bureaucrats on the spot had such authority (to alter the documents)", media quoted Shigeru Ishiba, an LDP lawmaker who has made no secret of his desire to challenge Abe in the party race, as saying on the weekend.

It is expected to report the findings from its internal probes to the ruling and opposition parties on Monday.

Abe appeared to have ridden out the storm but the scandal has hit the headlines again, with the finance ministry expected to admit some key passages in the land sale documents were removed before being presented to MPs.

Aso is also under fire over the scandal although the finance ministry insisted on Friday he had no plans to resign.

Pep Guardiola: There's no one like David Silva
He went back after the game against Basel last week but he came back, has trained and is ready to play against Stoke . His family and son are the most important thing. "What has happened has happened".

Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the opposition Kibo no To (Party of Hope), said the issue is no longer a problem that only involves the ministry, but is a sign of the Abe administration's cover-up habits.

National Tax Agency chief Nobuhisa Sagawa, who was formally responsible for the land sale, was forced to quit on Friday amid growing criticism for allegedly making false parliamentary remarks on the matter.

"At the very least, it seems that Aso's chances of surviving as finance minister are diminishing rapidly", wrote Tobias Harris, vice president of consultancy Teneo Intelligence, in an email.

Former Moritomo Gakeun head Yasunori Kagoike and his wife were arrested in July on suspicion of illegally receiving subsidies.

Opposition politicians have called for Aso to resign.

Abe has consistently denied any wrongdoing and vowed to resign if he was found to be involved in the land deal.

Like this: