Government Admits Moritomo Papers Altered Amid Scandal Involving Abe's Wife


Tokyo, March 12 (Jiji Press)—Japan's government admitted on Monday that Ministry of Finance documents related to a contract on the sale of a state land lot to private school operator Moritomo Gakuen at a deep discount were altered in and after late February 2017 in the wake of the revelation of the controversial deal.

The high-profile scandal involves Prime Minister Abe Shinzō's wife, Akie, once appointed honorary principal of an elementary school that the nationalist school operator based in the western Japan city of Osaka planned to open on the site in question in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture.

Fourteen sets of related documents, also including on a contract on the lease of the land to Moritomo before the sale, were manipulated at the Financial Bureau of the MOF's headquarters in Tokyo, according to the government's report to the Diet, Japan's parliament.

The original documents included descriptions indicating that Kagoike Yasunori, then head of Moritomo, told the ministry that the group had talks on the land with the Abe Akie side. This part was deleted later, however.

In the initial documents, Kagoike was quoted as saying to an official of the ministry's Kinki Local Finance Bureau in western Japan that Akie, who visited the site, told the Moritomo side, "The land plot is a good one, so please go ahead."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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