All papers reported on their front or inside pages on an article posted online by weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun on Wednesday alleging Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Amari’s involvement in a bribery scandal. The weekly alleges that Amari and his aides received cash and were wined and dined to the tune of 12 million yen in total from a Chiba construction company over the past three years in return for their help in settling a dispute with the Urban Renaissance Agency, a state-overseen housing development entity, over compensation issues related to a road project. The full article on the allegation will appear in the magazine’s print edition that goes on sale today. Amari told reporters on Wednesday: “I haven’t read the full article yet. I would like to investigate the matter and fulfill my duty to ensure accountability in order to avoid arousing public suspicion.”
Asahi wrote that the opposition parties plan to grill Amari over the alleged scandal in upcoming Diet deliberations. Mainichi wrote that the Abe administration will be dealt a severe blow if Amari, a key member of the Abe cabinet, is forced to step down. Yomiuri wrote that the Abe cabinet is becoming increasingly concerned about the scandal’s possible impact on the administration. Sankei wrote that the Abe administration is worried that the scandal may affect the Ginowan mayoral election in Okinawa on January 24 and Diet deliberations on the TPP.