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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 20 - 26  > PM’s wife also uses cherry party to entertain her friends
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2019 November 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

PM’s wife also uses cherry party to entertain her friends

November 21, 2019

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker’s Diet questioning on November 20 revealed that among guests invited to an annual cherry party using taxpayers’ money, there were friends of Prime Minister Abe’s wife. This added fuel to the allegation that PM Abe uses the public event for his own entertainment purposes.

In response to a question made by JCP Lower House member Miyamoto Toru at a House Cabinet Committee meeting on the day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide said that of 15,000 guests to this year’s cherry blossom-viewing party, 1,000 were invited at the recommendation of PM Abe.

Asked about the 1,000 guests, Onishi Shoji, a councillor in the Cabinet Secretariat, admitted that these guests included selections made by PM Abe’s wife, Akie.

Regarding the first lady, however, the government in March 2017 released the Cabinet-approved written answer which claims that Akie is just a “private citizen”.

JCP lawmaker Miyamoto in his questioning asked how as a “private citizen” she was involved in the selection of guests to the government-hosted event. In reply, Suga said that the government did not ask her for recommendations of guests.

Miyamoto pointed out that if what the Chief Cabinet Secretary says is true, it follows that it is PM Abe who called on the first lady to invite her friends to the state-hosted cherry blossom-viewing party, and said that PM Abe’s act was a misuse of taxpayers’ money. He demanded that PM Abe respond to the allegation before the Diet.

Furthermore, Miyamoto referred to the fact that the Cabinet Office discarded the data regarding the cherry blossom-viewing party guests on the very same day that he submitted to the CAO a request for the data. He criticized the administrative agency of the Cabinet for committing such an act in order to fend off grillings by opposition parties. A CAO bureaucrat in his reply explained that the agency did so because its turn to use the shredder came on that day.

Pointing out that the guest data was computerized, the JCP lawmaker criticized the CAO official’s explanation as being irrational and said that the agency’s act will weaken Japan’s democracy.

Past related article:
> Tamura criticizes Abe for delighting his supporters with invitations to gov’t-hosted cherry blossom-viewing party [November 9, 2019]
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