The Daily Manila Shimbun


Ruling camp refuses to summon ex-bureaucrat over school plan

May 25, 2017

TOKYO- Japan's ruling camp on Thursday refused an opposition request to summon a former top education ministry bureaucrat to give unsworn parliamentary testimony over allegations concerning a new university faculty plan by a school operator headed by a friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The main opposition Democratic Party made the request after Kihei Maekawa, former vice minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, confirmed in a magazine article published the same day the existence of allegedly leaked ministry documents suggesting Abe's "will" over the faculty plan.
The documents allegedly indicated that the Cabinet Office referred to Abe's will in urging the education ministry to accelerate work to approve the plan by Kake Educational Institution, based in the western Japan city of Okayama, to set up a university department of veterinary medicine. It would be the first time in 52 years for an animal medicine department to be set up at a university in Japan.
The summoning request was submitted to a directors' meeting of the Education, Culture and Science Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.
When the committee met after the directors' meeting, Akira Koike, head of the Japanese Communist Party's secretariat, requested that Maekawa be summoned to the Diet as a sworn witness.
At the committee meeting, Japanese education minister Hirokazu Matsuno said his ministry has been unable to confirm the existence of the documents in an investigation. He said the ministry will not reopen the probe.
Koike told a press conference that he cannot tolerate Matsuno's refusal to figure out the truth. He also said he severely condemns Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who has refused to deal with the problem by claiming that the documents are anonymous and not credible.
In a press conference, Suga strongly criticized Maekawa, who resigned as vice education minister last January to take responsibility for the ministry's illegal systematic involvement in a scheme of brokering jobs for retiring senior ministry officials. (Jiji Press)