March 29, 2017
TOKYO- The ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Tuesday it will use the parliamentary authority to investigate whether Yasunori Kagoike, head of controversial school operator Moritomo Gakuen, told the truth in his sworn testimony before parliament last week over a murky state land acquisition deal to construct an elementary school.
“We strongly suspect Kagoike committed perjury,” Yasutoshi Nishimura, special adviser to LDP President Shinzo Abe, also Japan’s prime minister, told a press conference. He expressed willingness to gather solid evidence of perjury.
At the day’s House of Councillors Audit Committee meeting, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the LDP aims to “uncover truth” as some of Kagoike’s statements were questionable. If Kagoike is found to have told something that is not true, he will be accused of perjury, Suga pointed out.
In the testimony on Thursday, Kagoike claimed that he received one million yen from Abe’s wife, Akie, as a donation. This allegation was quickly denied by Abe.
Abe told Tuesday’s Upper House committee meeting that there is no way to prove a donation that has never been made. He also said Kagoike offered a false explanation that he used Abe’s name “only for a moment” to collect donations for the school construction.
Kagoike’s remarks “should be thoroughly reviewed,” he stressed.
Moritomo Gakuen, based in the city of Osaka , purchased land from the state at a huge discount to build the elementary school. But the project was scrapped after the scandal came to light.
At the same committee meeting, Mikishi Daimon of the Japanese Communist Party disclosed a letter sent by Kagoike to a government official serving Abe’s wife. In the letter, dated Oct. 26, 2015, Kagoike called on the Finance Ministry to sell the land in question soon. Jiji Press
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