Shinzo Abe under fire over Kindergarten scandal

Japan Published: Mar 20, 2018, 10:52 AM(IST)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Photograph:( Getty )

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has once again come under fire regarding the cronyism and document tampering scandal on Monday.

Certain specific groups across Japan staged multiple protests demanding the resignation of Abe for his wife Akie Abe's alleged involvement in a kindergarten scandal.

Abe on Monday accepted the blame for the scandal which involved the tampering of certain official documents.

As per the Straits Times, Abe said that his superiors had told him to change certain background section of official documents Osaka land sale as they were supposedly too specific. He also said that he did not act alone but along with the instructions given by Finance Ministry.

"The ultimate responsibility lies with me as the head of the administrative branch. I would like to apologise once again," Abe told Parliament. "We take seriously the fact that this is a situation that has shaken public confidence in the entire administration."

Japan's Finance Ministry admitted last week that 14 documents about the Kindergarten land deal were found to be tampered with and the land was sold with the help of the Prime Minister's wife at lower rates.

Further on Monday another set of papers surfaced which showed a range of price negotiations done in regard to the dubious land deal which had been removed from the papers submitted to the parliament earlier.

In response to it, Abe denied of being involved in the forgeries conducted and said he 'had no clue of the documents' existence to begin with.

The scandal centres around a 2016 purchase of a state-owned land at Osaka in Japan which had been sold at one-tenth of its actual price to a person named Yasunori Kagoike to build a kindergarten school.

As per certain media reports, Akie Abe had facilitated Kagoike to purchase the land illegally at a lower price thus inviting charges under cronyism which includes partially awarding jobs and other political advantages to the relatives.

Further Kagoike also claimed to receive ¥1 million donations from Akie Abe for the development of the school, a claim which has been strenuously denied by Shinzo Abe.

Abe had also been accused of giving preferential treatment to a kinder school operator named Kake Gakuen who allegedly opened a veterinary school with the funds meant for the play school.

As the scandal unfolded National Tax Agency chief Nobuhisa Sagawa who presided over the Financial Bureau at the time of the tampering resigned on March 9 the same day when a bureau official committed suicide who was also a part of the investigation team.

There had also been reports that a politician of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party earlier pressurised an education board to provide details of a lecture that was scheduled to be delivered by the whistle-blower of the kindergarten scandal.

Read in App