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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 March 28 - April 3  > Koike calls for 6 opposition parties’ joint effort to dig out truth behind ‘Moritomo’ scandals
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2018 March 28 - April 3 [POLITICS]

Koike calls for 6 opposition parties’ joint effort to dig out truth behind ‘Moritomo’ scandals

March 30, 2018
Lawmakers of the Japanese Communist Party and five other opposition parties on March 29 held a rally in the Diet building and made a fresh commitment to exert joint efforts to investigate two inter-connected scandals involving cronyism related to a huge discount given in a national land deal and the falsification of official documents concerning the deal.

JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira delivered a speech at the rally along with representatives of the Constitutional Democratic Party, Democratic Party, Hope Party, Liberal Party, and Social Democratic Party.

Koike mentioned the testimony given at a Diet meeting two days earlier by Sagawa Nobuhisa, former chief of the Finance Ministry’s Financial Bureau. Sagawa was summoned to the Diet as a sworn witness amid growing suspicions that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s wife, Akie, pressured the Finance Ministry into offering an exceptionally large discount in the state-owned land sale to the school corporation Moritomo Gakuen and that PM Abe and his close aides ordered the ministry to doctor documents concerning the land deal in a bid to cover up Akie’s use of her influence. Akie was the honorary principal of the elementary school that Moritomo planned to establish.

Koike said that the March 27 testimony session revealed almost nothing new about the scandals due to Sagawa’s evasive responses to key questions. Koike went on to say that Prime Minister Abe at a Diet meeting on the following day (Mar.28) in response to Koike’s inquiry admitted that Sagawa did not answer questions about who had ordered the alteration of the official records and how the misconduct was done and that these facts have yet to be revealed.

Koike pointed out that Sagawa claimed that Abe and his close aides had nothing to do with the alteration and refused to answer questions concerning how the falsification came about, including whether he played a role in it. Koike said that his explanation was far from convincing.

Koike underscored the need for further investigations into the scandals. He stressed that it is essential to summon Abe Akie, the main person named in the allegations, to the Diet as a sworn witness.

Furthermore, Koike quoted Sagawa as saying that he assumed the post of financial bureau chief three days before the contract to sell the land in question to Moritomo was made and that he did not receive a briefing about the contract from his predecessor Sakota Hidenori. Koike said that Sakota should be called to testify before the Diet under oath.

Koike also noted that as part of Diet efforts to determine if Akie and her staff members put undue pressure on the Finance Ministry for the discount, the parliament needs to summon Tani Saeko, a government official who served as Akie’s assistant, and Imai Takaya, Tani’s boss and PM Abe’s secretary, to testify at the Diet under oath.

Koike stressed that in order to reveal the whole truth, the Diet should use its authority to have the government disclose all the relevant documents and call for the necessary testimony sessions. He expressed his determination to further strengthen the six opposition parties’ joint effort to investigate into the allegations and force the resignation of all Abe Cabinet members.

On the same day, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo in the Diet building said to the press that the party will promote the concerted efforts among the opposition parties to make all the facts of the scandals public.

Past related articles:
> Summoning of Sagawa is just first step: JCP Kokuta [March 21, 2018]
> PM Abe's statements to Diet trigger doctoring of 'Moritomo'-related official records [March 14, 2018]
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