Japanese principal to testify in the Diet about alleged Abe donation payoff
Tokyo, March 23 :The head of a Japanese nationalist school at the heart of a swirling political scandal gives sworn testimony in parliament today, the latest twist in a crisis that is chipping away at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s popularity.
The head of a Japanese nationalist school at the heart of a swirling political scandal said in sworn testimony in parliament on Thursday that he received a donation of 1 million yen from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife in her husband’s name.
Abe has said neither he nor his wife, Akie, intervened in a sweetheart land deal in which educational group Moritomo Gakuen, based in Osaka, western Japan, bought state-owned land at a fraction of its appraisal price to build an elementary school.
Abe has also denied allegations by Yasunori Kagoike, who has said he would step down as head of Moritomo Gakuen, that Akie had donated 9,000 dollars on the prime minister’s behalf.
Abe has also denied allegations by Yasunori Kagoike, who has said he would step down as head of Moritomo Gakuen, that Akie had donated 1 million yen ($9,000) on the prime minister’s behalf.
Kagoike is a member of Nippon Kaigi, a nationalist lobby group that promotes a traditional ethos mixing Shinto myth, patriotism and pride in an ancient imperial line. The group has close ties to Abe and his cabinet.
Akie had been set to be honorary principal of the school, which was to open in April with a curriculum based on prewar patriotism that taught students to be subjects, not citizens. She cut her ties after the scandal broke. The group currently runs a kindergarten with a similar curriculum.
Kagoike, in testimony to an upper house budget committee under oath – which means he could face perjury charges if he is later found to have lied – said he received money from Abe’s wife in 2015 when the two of them were alone in a room.
“She said ‘please, this is from Shinzo Abe,’ and gave me an envelope with 1 million yen in it,” Kagoike said.
“Abe’s wife apparently says she doesn’t remember this at all, but since this was a matter of honor to us, I remember it quite vividly.”
His testimony was broadcast live on four of Japan’s six television networks.