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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 December 16 - 22  > Opposition parties: Abe should explain in Diet his payment for hotel banquet on eve of sakura party
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2020 December 16 - 22 [POLITICS]

Opposition parties: Abe should explain in Diet his payment for hotel banquet on eve of sakura party

December 21, 2020

Opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, are demanding that former Prime Minister Abe be summoned to Budget Committee meetings as a witness to explain an allegation that Abe’s local office had paid part of the expenses for hotel banquets for his supporters held on the eve of annual tax-funded cherry blossom-viewing parties.

Meanwhile, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party claims that it will be enough for Abe to provide his explanation to directors of the House of Representatives steering committee in an off-the-record meeting. This indicates that the LDP intends to prevent opposition parties from demanding Abe’s explanation in the next year’s ordinary session of the Diet.

Criticizing the LDP’s claim, JCP Policy Commission Chair Tamura Tomoko said, “The provision of explanation by Abe in an off-the-record setting is totally unacceptable. Abe had made a false statement at Lower House Budget Committee meetings, so it is a matter of course for the Budget Committee to hold a question-and-answer session between Abe and opposition parties. In addition, the committee should call ex-PM Abe as a witness so that he will be punished if making false statements.”

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties are working together with the JCP to demand the summoning of Abe to the Diet by saying that Abe’s attendance in an off-the-record meeting will be meaningless.

Abe, during his tenure as prime minister, was repeatedly grilled by opposition parties about the scandal regarding the pre-sakura party dinners at a Tokyo hotel. Every time, he replied that he had never made payment to cover the difference between the total bills and the amount of money collected from dinner attendees. The Lower House survey data indicates that in the extraordinary Diet session in 2019 and the ordinary session in 2020, Abe claimed this 33 times with 20 made in Lower House Budget Committee meetings. However, it has recently come to light that hotel receipts which contradict Abe’s claim exist.

Past related article:
> Abe's explanation conflicts with hotel receipts for banquets on eve of cherry blossom-viewing parties [November 25, 2020]
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