May 26, 2017
Tokyo- Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party rejected Friday an opposition request for sworn testimony before parliament by a former vice education minister over a dubious university faculty plan.
Democratic Party parliamentary affairs head Kazunori Yamanoi met with his LDP counterpart, Wataru Takeshita, to request testimony by former vice minister Kihei Maekawa, who confirmed on Thursday the authenticity of documents indicating Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "will" behind the plan by a school operator run by a friend of Abe.
The LDP "cannot accept" the request, Takeshita said, noting that Maekawa is a private person. "I wonder why he did not speak (about the matter) while he was in office," Takeshita also said.
Yamanoi slammed the LDP's response, saying that the party accepted testimony by former Moritomo Gakuen head Yasunori Kagoike, a private person, before the Diet in March over a scandal related to a now-abandoned plan to set up an elementary school with Abe's wife, Akie, as honorary principal.
At the meeting with Takeshita, Yamanoi also requested intensive debates on the university plan at the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber. Takeshita declined to make an immediate reply.
At issue is the plan by the Kake Educational Institution, operated by the prime minister's friend, to open the Kake-run Okayama University of Science's department of veterinary medicine, in a special zone for deregulation in Ehime Prefecture, western Japan.
The documents say that the Cabinet Office, responsible for special zones, urged the education ministry to speed up the processing of the plan, citing the will of the prime minister. (Jiji Press)
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