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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 July 26 - August 1  > JCP Koike grills Abe over scandals of ‘Kake’ and cover-up of SDF’s ‘daily reports’
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2017 July 26 - August 1 [POLITICS]

JCP Koike grills Abe over scandals of ‘Kake’ and cover-up of SDF’s ‘daily reports’

July 26, 2017
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Koike Akira on July 25 grilled Prime Minister Abe Shinzo over allegations that Abe used his influence to favor the private school corporation “Kake Gakuen” and that the Defense Ministry covered up controversial information.

The general public is casting a growingly critical eye upon these allegations which prompted the ruling coalition to hold a two-day Q&A session in response to opposition parties’ demand for answers. The Budget Committee held an off-session meeting on July 24 in the House of Representatives and on July 25 in the House of Councilors.

In the July 25 meeting, Koike took up the scandal in which PM Abe allegedly posed undue pressure on relevant government ministries to approve Kake Gakuen’s application to set up a veterinary school in Ehime’s Imabari City. The school corporation is run by Abe’s close friend.

On the previous day’s Diet deliberation, PM Abe said that he had not known of Kake’s plan to open a new school until January 20, the day when the government gave the green light to the plan.

Koike pointed out that in Diet meetings in the past, Abe said that he had learned of the educational project much earlier than January 20. Abe retracted his former remarks by saying that he had a misunderstanding. Koike stressed that what Abe just said undermines the foundation of the Diet discussions so far and that the deliberation should start again from scratch.

In the first place, Koike said, it is hard to believe that PM Abe learned about Kake’s project no earlier than January this year. In response to Koike’s questioning, three ministers having to do with the veterinary school project—the agriculture minister, regional revitalization minister, and education minister—admitted that they received a visit from Kake Gakuen president, Kake Kotaro, in August and September 2016. The former two said that they heard about the school plan from Kake in the meetings. During the same period of time, Koike noted, Abe and Kake repeatedly dined together and played golf. Koike stated that few people would accept Abe’s explanation that he had never talked with Kake about the new school plan.

Koike also questioned Abe about the alleged cover-up of the daily journal kept by Self-Defense Forces units during the UN Peace Keeping Operation in South Sudan.

In March, the electric data of the journal were found to be stored in the Ground SDF computers although the Defense Ministry had said that the daily reports had already been discarded. Opposition parties suspect that the ministry covered up the existence of the data because they contain information detrimental to the government.

More than four months have passed since the revelation, but the Abe government has done little to uncover the truth. Koike criticized Abe for taking a negative stance toward calls to investigate the issue. The JCP lawmaker added that Abe’s qualification as chief commander of the SDF is called into question. Abe in response merely said that a special defense inspection is underway and that he is waiting for the completion of the probe.

Koike said that if the government is reluctant to investigate the scandal, the Diet would need to initiate an investigation. He demanded the summoning of the Defense Minister and other persons concerned.

Past related articles:
> Shii: Diet discussions on ‘Moritomo’ and ‘Kake’ scandals without Abe is out of the question [July 6, 2017]
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