The following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Councillors Budget Committee on March 1, 2017:
Moritomo Gakuen issue
Kenzo Fujisue (Democratic Party): Does the Osaka Civil Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism (MLIT) have any experience in estimating the cost of garbage removal?
MLIT Osaka Civil Aviation Bureau chief Yoshinobu Sato: We had never made an estimate of the cost of garbage removal.
Fujisue: Then why were you able to make the estimate?
Sato: We conducted an investigation of buried materials in 2010. The Osaka Civil Aviation Bureau has a good knowledge of buried materials and so forth. We also have staff members who are capable of making estimates.
Akira Koike (Japanese Communist Party): We were able to obtain records of meetings at the office of a Liberal Democratic Party Diet member. Suspicious negotiations had continued since before the sale of the government-owned land.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: I don’t know what document you are talking about. You are responsible for providing evidence. Why don’t you just say whose office?
Koike: (The records show that) on Jan. 9, 2015, Moritomo Gakuen administrator Yasunori Kagoike said that “a Finance Ministry official estimated the land value at 1 billion yen, with an annual lease rate of 4%, or approximately 40 million yen, over 10 years. This is too much. We were expecting 2-2.3%. We ask you to exercise your influence.”
Finance Ministry Financial Bureau Director General Nobuhisa Sagawa: I believe the Kinki Financial Bureau had had meetings with the school from time to time. We threw out our records, so there are no records of these meetings (in the Finance Ministry).
Yuichiro Uozumi (Komeito): Prospects are dim for the TPP agreement to come into force. How would you promote economic partnership agreements?
Abe: I would like to discuss with countries other than the U.S. the possibilities from now. The new rules agreed upon under the TPP will serve as a model for trade talks in the future. I would also like to explain the importance of these rules to Asian countries and members of the RCEP (East Asian Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) and the FTAAP (Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific). (Abridged)