TOKYO (TR) – Correspondence with Akie Abe, the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is among the agenda items for upcoming testimony by the chairman of a scandal-hit educational body in the Diet, sources with knowledge of the matter revealed on Wednesday, reports Nippon News Network (Mar. 22).
According to the sources, email correspondence this month between Akie and the wife of Kagoike included a request for the approval of the body’s controversial nationalist elementary school in Osaka.
Over the past month, Moritomo Gakuen has been embroiled in a scandal over its purchase of government-owned land in Osaka’s Toyonaka City from the Ministry of Finance at a price far below market value for the school, which it planned to open on the site in the spring.
“No problems at all”
During their correspondence, Kagoike’s wife sent an email message to Akie that requested assistance. She wrote, “Please help us. Please make them stop the false reports. Please get us approval.” Akie allegedly responded, “I’m shocked, I myself am being chased by the media. God is witnessing everything” without addressing approval for the school.
Abe told the Diet last week that such correspondence “has no problems at all.”
Meanwhile, opposition parties plan to probe Akie’s ties to Moritomo Gakuen during the testimony in light of findings that a discount of over 800 million yen was applied to the public land sale.
Akie will be held accountable if Kagoike testifies that it was through her that he received a donation of one million yen, as he claimed last week.
Hirofumi Ryu, a Democratic Party official and senior vice chair of the Diet Affairs Committee, said: “If Kagoike ends up making such remarks [during witness testimony], then I suppose [Akie’s] accountability about that will naturally surface.”
Since the low-ball price was revealed last month, speculation has swirled as to what led to the deal.
Due to the controversy, Kagoike earlier announced the cancellation of the application to open the school affiliated with Nippon Kaigi, or Japan Conference, which aims for “a beautiful, traditional sovereignty for Japan’s future.”