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Minister denies report on new vet school plan

  • July 20, 2017
  • , NHK World
  • English Press

Local revitalization minister Kozo Yamamoto has denied media claims that he expressed the government’s intention to help open a new veterinary school in Ehime Prefecture two months before the plan was officially approved. The school operator is chaired by a close friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun says Yamamoto visited the Japan Veterinary Medical Association on November 17th last year. It says he told senior officials there of the government’s intention to approve Kake Educational Institution’s plan to open the school in Imabari city.

The government had yet to decide at that point where the school would be opened or any other details.

Yamamoto’s visit came the day before it unveiled a conditional plan to allow the opening of a vet school, and started soliciting public opinion on the proposal.

On Wednesday night, Yamamoto said through his office that he had merely told the vet association that the government had decided to approve a new school, but not the venue.

He denied mentioning Shikoku, where Imabari is located, and said he told the officials that Kyoto was also an option.

He admitted briefing the officials of the financial situation of Imabari city. But he said he never specifically mentioned Kake Educational Institution.

Yamamoto earlier told the Diet that he visited the association on November 17th to seek its understanding for the opening of a new school, which the group had strongly opposed. The school plan was officially approved in January.

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