The 195 session of the Extraordinary Diet ended December 9. Prime Minister Abe told again he had explained thoroughly in the said session about the scandal over the Moritomo and Kake schools. However, according to an opinion survey conducted by the Kyodo Tsushin news agency, people claimed of ‘insufficient explanation’, the rate of which counted as high as 75.0% of the contesters.
DOUBTS OVER SCHOOLS DEEPNED FURTHER
Report from the Board of Audit
As for the questionable discount sale of a plot of the state-owned land to the operator of Moritomo Gakuen School by 800 million Yen, the Board of Audit, an independent official body which investigates legitimacy of accounting practices of the state’s institutions, publicized a much-anticipated report on November 22 that said ‘grounds were insufficient’.
The scandal is as follows. The Ministry of Finance sold the land in Osaka Prefecture with a price of 130 million Yen, which is a deducted price from is appraisal value of 950 million Yen by approximately 800 million Yen. The portion was regarded as a cost to remove 19 thousand tons of industrial waste buried in the compound.
The Board of Audit told in the report that the amount of waste was estimated between 6,169 tons and 13,927 tons, which is 30-70% less than the original calculation of the Ministry of Finance. It raised questions over the calculation figures of depth of waste, mixture rate and the disposal cost.
The processes of transaction were indeed unusual. Firstly, as for a sale of state-owned land, responsibility belongs to the Kinki Local Finance Bureau of the Ministry of Finance, but the Osaka Civil Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry was ordered to make estimation of the cost of waste disposal. An installment payment was allowed, too, which is extraordinary. As a rule, a written statement made by the real estate appraiser designated by the Kinki District Finance Office shall be examined by a state’s property controlling officer in order to set the right price. But, strangely enough, the officer told ‘he had failed’ in producing an investigation report.
In the absence of customary rules the price was set in the deal of such importance. Nobody can be persuaded by these explanations. It is natural enough to think that the officer did not produce a report because he had been instructed by somebody not to do so.
Premier’s Wife Involved Actively
Why was such an unusual deal of the state’s property possible? The entire process of the steep discount deal has been dislosed publicly, thanks to the recorded sound data (the government acknowledges its authenticity) during the meetings between former School Principal Kagoike and the officials of the Ministry of Finance.
In the meetings Mr. Kogoike repeatedly referred to the name, Akie Abe, wife of the premier. Afterwards negotiations developed rapidly over the discount arrangement.
The Moritomo Gakuen School was to found an elementary school, which was supposed to name the Abe Shinzo Memorial Elementary School. His wife Akie was once positioned as Honorary Principal. Responding to requests from Mr. Kagoike, a secretary belonging to Premier’s wife contacted Tamura Yoshihiro, Chief Controlling Officer of State’s Property of the Ministry of Finance, for a deal of the land piece.
It is without doubt that Mr. Kagoike took advantage of Akie, Premier Abe’s wife, in order to propel the deal. Mr. Kagoike himself testified in the Diet that ‘a divine wind had blown’.
Doubt on Intimate Friend
Didn’t Akie involve in the negotiations? The sole way is to ask her directly. Testimonies from the then-officers of the Ministry of Finance, who might have lied in the Diet session, are necessary, too.
As for the Kake Gakuen college scandal, too, truths are still covered. Did Premier Abe help in favor of College Principal, whom the former calls the latter ‘an intimate friend’? The two people enjoyed golfing and wining-dining eleven times in total during the period when the Diet session discussed the Special Economic Zones. Every detail looks unnatural. The scandals must be debated to reveal truths in January 2018 when the ordinary Diet session opens.
December 19, 2017