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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 14 - 20  >  ‘Kake Gakuen’ related-materials alluding PM pressure existed in ministry
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2017 June 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

‘Kake Gakuen’ related-materials alluding PM pressure existed in ministry

June 17, 2017
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Ministry of Education admitted to the presence of internal materials stating that to approve the opening of a veterinary school at “Kake Gakuen” is what “the highest-level people in the Prime Minister’s Office” want and is “the prime minister’s intent”. The ministry, however, avoided clarifying by whom and for what purposes these documents had been drawn up. Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office denied that Cabinet officials implied it was “the prime minister’s intent”.

The materials in question were uncovered in mid-May by the press, in which it was written that to support the creation of a veterinary medicine faculty at “Kake Gakuen” in Imabari City (Ehime Pref.) is “the prime minister’s intent” and that the Cabinet Office told the ministry that the launch of the veterinary department in 2018 is what “the highest-level people in the Prime Minister’s Office say” should be accomplished. Since the “Kake Gakuen” director is PM Abe’s close friend, it is only natural for people to suspect Abe of using his political influence to help launch the new faculty.

However, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, immediately after the revelation about the ministry documents, flatly scoffed at them and claimed that they are “from an unnamed source” and are “anonymous”. Education Minister Matsuno Hirokazu, after only a half day of looking into the matter, announced that such documents are “unconfirmed”, provoking public criticism.

Following this, former Administrative Vice Minister of Education Maekawa Kihei testified that these documents were produced in the ministry in September last year through October the same year and that they are “authentic”. His statement triggered subsequent testimonies from other ministry bureaucrats. Moreover, e-mails were found, suggesting that these documents had been “shared” in the ministry.

Cornered, Abe finally ordered relevant authorities to “reinvestigate” into the controversial materials. As a result, the Education Ministry reluctantly recognized that a document stating “the prime minister’s intent” exists and officials had been told so by the Cabinet Office. The ministry, however, did not provide any details. Following the Education Ministry’s probe, the Cabinet Office also conducted an “additional investigation” in haste. Having looked into the allegations just for one night, the Cabinet Office denied the existence of people who had conveyed “the prime minister’s intent” to the Education Ministry.

It also has emerged that PM Abe’s aide Izumi Hiroto and Special Advisor to the Cabinet Kiso Isao exerted pressure on ex-Education Ministry bureaucrat Maekawa to speed up the procedure for establishing a new faculty at the “Kake Gakuen”.

The need here is for the Diet to fully determine the facts in order not to allow the government to draw a curtain on this scandal and to have the prime minister held accountable.

Past related articles:
> JCP Koike: Gov’t decision to investigate Education Ministry’s internal documents over ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal is essential[June 10, 2017]
> PM Abe should stop taking a ‘so-what’ attitude toward ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal [June 6, 2017]
> Opinion poll on ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal: 70% are not convinced by gov’t explanation [June 6, 2017]
> JCP Kokuta : Diet should summon PM’s aide and ex-Vice Education Minister over ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal [June 1, 2017]
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