Tokyo – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party declined on Tuesday to summon his wife Akie to testify over a controversial land deal involving an ultra-nationalistic school.
Opposition parties demanded Akie Abe and former tax agency chief Nobuhisa Sagawa provide testimony at parliament over the questionable bargain sale of state land to an ultra-nationalistic school a day after the Finance Ministry admitted it had fabricated documents linked to the deal.
Hiroshi Moriyama, a parliamentary affairs chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, rejected their request.
Finance Minister Taro Aso conceded on Monday that his ministry had doctored 14 documents related to the 2016 deal to sell the land to the operating company Moritomo Gakuen in Osaka at just 14 per cent of its appraised price.
Aso repeatedly blamed Sagawa, who formerly headed the ministry’s financial bureau that is in charge of the land sale.
Japanese media reported that Akie Abe, who once served as honorary principal of the now-defunct school, had appeared in the original documents but was deleted.
Akie Abe quit her role soon after the scandal broke in February 2017.
Monday’s revelation could deal a severe blow to Abe, who said he had nothing to do with the land purchase and that he “would quit as prime minister and a lawmaker” if he or his wife were found to be involved in the deal.
Meanwhile, hundreds of citizens gathered in front of the parliament building on Tuesday, calling for the resignation of the whole cabinet