Japan MOF Admits Asking Moritomo to Lie about Murky Land Deal

Politics

Tokyo, April 9 (Jiji Press)--Mitsuru Ota, director-general of the Ministry of Finance's Financial Bureau, admitted Monday that a bureau official asked Moritomo Gakuen last year to lie about the huge discount sale of a state land lot to the school operator.

"Seeking explanations that run counter to the truth was definitely the wrong response to make," Ota told a House of Councillors committee meeting, giving an apology.

Ota's remarks came after public broadcaster Japan Broadcasting Corp., or NHK, on Wednesday reported about the bureau's attempt to ensure the school operator tells the same story as the bureau. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso promised to check the facts.

In June 2016, Moritomo Gakuen acquired the 8,770-square-meter land in Toyonaka in the western prefecture of Osaka from the central government for 134 million yen, down from the assessed value of 956 million yen. Costs for disposing of waste buried there were cited to justify the huge discount.

According to Ota, the Financial Bureau official made the request on Feb. 20, 2017, to lie about the deal.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press