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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 July 5 - 11  > JCP lawmakers question ex-bureaucrat as unsworn witness over ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal
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2017 July 5 - 11 [POLITICS]

JCP lawmakers question ex-bureaucrat as unsworn witness over ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal

July 11, 2017
Over the allegation regarding the school corporation “Kake Gakuen” run by Prime Minister Abe’s close friend, a former Education Ministry bureaucrat has testified that the corporation’s new school of veterinary science was the only candidate from the beginning and that there was strong pressure from the PM Office.

On July 10, both chambers’ committees on Education and on the Cabinet called former Administrative Vice Minister of Education Maekawa Kihei as an unsworn witness to give testimony in their joint interpellations. However, neither PM Abe nor others involved in the scandal, including PM Abe’s special advisor Izumi Hiroto, appeared in the day’s out-of-Diet session questionings.

Japanese Communist Party representatives Miyamoto Takeshi (Lower House) and Tamura Tomoko (Upper House), after questioning the witness, demanded that the Diet summon all parties concerned in the alleged scandal as sworn witnesses and that intensive deliberations be held with the attendance of PM Abe. Maekawa himself clearly stated, “I will surely give sworn testimony.”

In response to a question by JCP Miyamoto, Maekawa said that Kake Gakuen had been the only strong candidate from the beginning among other universities applying for a veterinary faculty and that all processes had to go in accordance with what had already been decided.

In response to JCP Tamura’s question about the timing of the school opening, Maekawa testified, “I was told that that was ‘the prime minister’s intent’,” and said that PM’s Special Advisor Izumi and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hagiuda Koichi had applied pressure on the Education Ministry to approve the opening of a new school in April 2018.

According to Maekawa, he was called to the PM Office in early September last year and was requested by Abe’s aide Izumi to speed up the ministry’s procedures for allowing the establishment of a veterinary department at Kake Gakuen. Maekawa testified that Izumi at that time had said, “I’m asking this in place of the Prime Minister.”

JCP Koike: Diet should summon sworn witnesses in presence of Abe

JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira on the same day held a press conference in the Diet building and said, “What the general public expects is to hear the prime minister’s own accounts of this scandal.”

Koike emphasized the need for the Diet to conduct intensive discussions with PM Abe attending and to summon the following six figures as sworn witnesses in order to uncover the whole truth: Kake Kotaro (Director of Kake Gakuen); Izumi Hiroto (Special Advisor to the Prime Minister); Hagiuda Koichi (Deputy Cabinet Secretary); Kiso Isao (Kake Gakuen chair of board of directors, former Special Advisor to the Cabinet); Fujiwara Yutaka (former Vice Minister for Policy Coordination of the Cabinet Office); and Maekawa Kihei (former Administrative Vice Minister of Education).

Past related articles:
>‘Kake Gakuen’ related-materials alluding PM pressure existed in ministry[June 17, 2017]
>JCP Koike: Gov’t decision to investigate Education Ministry’s internal documents over ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal is essential[June 10, 2017]
>Ex-Education Ministry bureaucrat: PM Abe’s aide exerts pressure to open veterinary school[May 31, 2017]
>Ex-Vice Minister of Education: Documents are genuine[May 26, 2017]
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