Rekindled Cherry Scandal Clouds Ex-PM Abe's Influence


Tokyo, Nov. 27 (Jiji Press)--The high-profile scandal over the government's annual cherry blossom-viewing event is reigniting at a time when former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is starting to be active again.

Initially, the scandal erupted when Abe was in office. He was under fire, including for his office's suspected coverage of some of the costs of his support group's dinner parties held on the eve of the cherry blossom event in recent years.

Since Abe stepped down on Sept. 16 this year, citing a recurrence in a chronic disease, his health condition is believed to have recovered.

Abe attended a party held on Sept. 28 by a Liberal Democratic Party faction that he belonged to before becoming prime minister. He has also held phone talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and visited Tokyo's war-linked Yasukuni Shrine.

Abe appears keen to maintain his influence after leaving the prime minister's office. Within the LDP faction led by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, there are expectations that Abe will lead the faction again.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press