Suga Denies Responsibility over Abe Dinner Parties

Politics

Tokyo, Nov. 25 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday denied direct involvement or responsibility over reported payments by the side of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, for part of fees for past dinner parties held on the eve of cherry blossom-viewing parties.

Suga, who served as chief cabinet secretary under the Abe administration, made the denial during intensive deliberations at a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, the country's parliament.

"It's a matter that should be decided by the Diet," Suga said, on the opposition side's call to summon Abe to the Diet for testimony on the issue. He was responding to a question from Yukio Edano, leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

A source close to Abe has admitted that the Abe side paid a Tokyo hotel a total of over 8 million yen to cover the difference between the actual cost of the dinner parties, held 2015 to 2019, and the fees collected from the participants.

The dinner parties were put on by a group of Abe supporters on the eve of the prime minister-hosted annual cherry blossom-viewing parties. When he was prime minister, Abe explained in a Diet meeting that the fees for the dinner parties were paid by participants to the hotel based on direct contracts between them and that his office served only as an intermediary.

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Jiji Press