March 2, 2017
TOKYO- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacted sharply on Thursday toward an opposition lawmaker who described a shady land acquisition by a school operator once linked to his wife, Akie, as an “Akheed scandal,” a play on the Lockheed payoff scandal.
“That way of saying things goes over the limit,” Abe said at a House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting, in response to Taro Yamamoto of the Liberal Party, who coined the phrase by combining “Akky,” the nickname of Abe’s wife, and a reference to the Lockheed scandal, the biggest post-World War II bribery affair in Japan.
Yamamoto demanded that Abe’s wife testify before parliament as an unsworn witness.
Abe said, “I’m very displeased with the use of the committee to defame an individual.”
The first lady recently resigned as honorary principal of an elementary school set to open this spring in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, western Japan.
To build the school, operator Moritomo Gakuen acquired a tract of state-owned land in Toyonaka in 2016 at a price much lower than the appraisal value.
The operator collected donations by naming the new school after the prime minister. Abe has denied any personal ties with the head of Moritomo Gakuen or involvement in the controversial land deal. Jiji Press
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