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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 29 - September 4  > Economy Ministry instructed staff to not include individual remarks in meeting records
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2018 August 29 - September 4 [POLITICS]

Economy Ministry instructed staff to not include individual remarks in meeting records

August 31, 2018

A lesson that the Economy Ministry has learned from the scandals involving the school corporations of Moritomo and Kake seems to be to not keep a record of who said what in meetings.

It has come to light that the ministry in March drew up an internal document concerning how to compile official records of negotiations with persons both inside and outside the ministry, such as politicians. The internal document states, “There is no need to write down individual remarks as is done in minutes.”

The sentence cited above is underlined. The internal document also states that meeting records should include information which indicates who ministry officials met with, when, and what for, but no more.

Evidently, the written instruction was aimed at taking the tooth out of the government guidelines which require bureaucrats to keep a record of meetings. The guidelines were revised in December last year in response to the scandals of Moritomo and Kake.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on August 30 held a press conference in the Diet building and criticized the Economy Ministry’s internal document. He pointed out that meeting records were the focal point in the scrutiny of the issues pertaining to Moritomo and Kake.

Shii said that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s alleged involvement in the Moritomo scandal surfaced after the discovery of the Education Ministry’s documents which include expressions like, “the intent of the prime minister” and “this is according to the head of the Prime Minister’s Office”. Concerning the Moritomo scandal, Shii said that in response to JCP lawmakers’ demand for the disclosure of relevant official documents, ministry officials made a false statement that they already discarded the documents and then they actually destroyed them.

Shii said, “If ministry officials are allowed to omit individual remarks from meeting records, they will no longer need to conceal, discard, or lie about those documents (in order to cover up the truth). This will increase the ministry’s moves towards secrecy.”

Past related articles:
> PM Abe's statements to Diet trigger doctoring of 'Moritomo'-related official records [March 14, 2018]
> Kake Gakuen’ related-materials alluding PM pressure existed in ministry [June 17, 2017]

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