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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 6 - 12  > Tamura criticizes Abe for delighting his supporters with invitations to gov’t-hosted cherry blossom-viewing party
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2019 November 6 - 12 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Tamura criticizes Abe for delighting his supporters with invitations to gov’t-hosted cherry blossom-viewing party

November 9, 2019

Japanese Communist Party Upper House member Tamura Tomoko on November 8 at a House Budget Committee meeting stated that dozens of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s supporters from his hometown took part in a government-hosted cherry blossom-viewing party, and criticized Abe for using government events to further his own interests.

The cherry blossom-viewing party is held annually in April at a Tokyo park. Invited guests are wined and dined in style. This year, the government spent more than 55 million yen of taxpayers’ money to host the party with 18,000 guests participating.

Tamura said that guests should be those who demonstrated meritorious behavior and those who accomplished distinctive achievements in culture or other fields. However, she continued, the party was attended by members of Abe’s supporters’ association as well as supporters of other ministers and Liberal Democratic Party executives.

Tamura cited a blog posted by an LDP member of the Yamaguchi Prefectural assembly as an example. Abe’s constituency is in the prefecture. The LDP assembly member wrote that he attended the cherry blossom-viewing party along with seven members of the women’s division of his supporters’ group. Tamura urged PM Abe to explain why this local assembly member and seven women were invited to the party.

PM Abe did not reply and a Cabinet Office official just said that documents used in the selection of guests were already discarded.

Furthermore, Tamura referred to an Akahata report in which members of Abe’s supporters’ association in his hometown of Shimonoseki testified that some hundreds of supporters in the city go to Tokyo every year to attend the cherry blossom-viewing party and that people interested in attending the party submitted invitation requests to Abe’s local office and then received their invitations from the Cabinet Office.

Tamura said, “In the cherry blossom viewing party, guests are served free drinks. If a politician holds a party and wines and dines participants, he/she would be charged with violation of the election law. The prime minister used taxpayers’ money to hold a public event aimed at entertaining his supporters. This is a huge problem.”

Past related article:
> Abe allegedly used taxpayers’ money to entertain his supporters [October 21, 2019]
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