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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 3 - 9  > JCP Nihi demands resignation of deputy land minister and cancellation of wasteful road construction project
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2019 April 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

JCP Nihi demands resignation of deputy land minister and cancellation of wasteful road construction project

April 5, 2019
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Nihi Sohei on April 4 at a House of Councilors Audit Committee meeting contended that the Land Ministry budgeted funds for a plan to construct a road between the hometowns of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro supposedly under Abe’s “instructions” to benefit their hometowns.

Nihi made this remark in connection with the revelation that the State Minister of Land Tsukada Ichiro three days earlier said that by making a guess about the intentions of Abe and Aso, he worked for the promotion of the road construction project designed to connect Yamaguchi’s Shimonoseki City to Fukuoka’s Kitakyushu City. Yamaguchi is Abe’s hometown and Fukuoka is Aso’s.

The Shimonoseki-Kitakyushu road project, which includes a new bridge across a strait, was once shelved in 2008 after its first appearance in the government’s broad development plan in 1998. However, in the FY2019 budget, the Land Ministry plans to use 40 million yen to conduct research on the project.

Nihi claimed that there is a possibility that PM Abe used his influence to promote the road construction project. He stated that a group of Liberal Democratic Party parliamentarians in 2016 submitted to the then Land Minister a written petition calling for the early start of the project and that the list of names of petitioners in the document included Abe.

Abe in reply said that he did not know anything about the submission of the written petition, while admitting that he is a member of the group.

Nihi quoted Abe as saying, “Please keep working to realize the early launch of the road construction project,” when Abe met with parliamentarians working to promote the road construction project on October 25, 2017. Nihi said that this was obviously an instruction.

Nihi pointed out that the road construction project will cost 200-270 billion yen, but there is no urgent need for the road and its profitability is questionable. He urged the government to abandon the project. In addition, Nihi demanded the resignation of State Minister of Land Tsukada.

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