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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 6 - 12  > Opposition parties set up team to probe into cherry blossom-viewing party scandal involving Abe
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2019 November 6 - 12 [POLITICS]

Opposition parties set up team to probe into cherry blossom-viewing party scandal involving Abe

November 12, 2019
The Japanese Communist Party and other opposition parties on November 11 decided to set up a team to investigate the allegation that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo entertained dozens of his supporters with a government-hosted cherry-blossom viewing party.

Diet affairs chiefs of the JCP, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and the Democratic Party for the People held a meeting in the Diet building and agreed to launch the investigation team.

In the meeting, CDPJ Diet affairs chief Azumi Jun pointed out that after taking office in 2012, PM Abe allegedly invited 400-800 supporters from his hometown to the cherry blossom-viewing party every year, which means that Abe unjustly used the government-hosted event supposedly with the aim of strengthening ties with his supporters.

JCP Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji stressed that it is necessary to have PM Abe respond to the allegation before the Diet.

The opposition parties’ investigation team will hold a joint hearing regarding this issue in the Diet building on November 12.

JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira on November 11 in the Diet building told the press that the allegation concerning the cherry blossom-viewing party is very serious and should be independently investigated.

Koike also noted that the government expenditure for this event has kept increasing under the Abe government. He criticized Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide’s remark on November 11 that the increase in the spending is mainly due to tighter security measures. Koike pointed out that it had already come to light that Abe’s supporters were exempted from security checks at the party venue. He said that Suga’s remark about stricter security is inaccurate to say the least.

Noting that some ministers and Dietmembers stepped down after being criticized for having given to their supporters gifts such as melons, fans, and sticks of incense using their own expenses, Koike said, “If Abe actually used the government event to favor his supporters, it will be a scandal serious enough to question Abe’s qualification to continue as prime minister.”
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