OSAKA (TR) – The chairman of an educational body embroiled in a scandal involving the sale of a property for a private elementary school said on Thursday that he received a donation from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, reports Sankei Sports (Mar. 16).
Yasunori Kagoike, the chairman of Moritomo Gakuen, told Ichita Yamamoto, the head of the Budget Committee of the upper house of the Diet, and other lawmakers at the property that Abe granted a donation for the school.
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.
Due to the controversy, Kagoike earlier this week announced the cancellation of the application to open the school.
The school is affiliated with Nippon Kaigi, or Japan Conference, which aims for “a beautiful, traditional sovereignty for Japan’s future.” Since the low-ball price was revealed last month, speculation has swirled as to what led to the deal
Abe has denied such involvement and vowed to resign if proven true. “I clearly state that I will definitely quit as prime minister and a member of the Diet if me or my wife were to have been involved,” Abe said in the Diet in February.
Abe’s wife, Akie, was once listed on the school’s website as its honorary principal. She has since withdrawn that title.
Update: Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary, has denied the donation took place, reports TBS News (Mar. 16). “A donation was not made by the prime minister, his wife, his office or via a third party,” Suga said.