This meeting is said to have taken place two months before Imabari City and Ehime Prefecture proposed the establishment of a veterinary medicine department in the government’s special strategic district. This means that not only the city and the prefecture but also the Kake Institution, the school operator, had met with Abe’s secretary, someone who is very close to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the other hand, stated in the Diet that although he knew of the special strategic district application by the prefecture and the city, he only learned of the Kake Institution’s plans to open a veterinary medicine department on January 20. A year and nine months prior to that, however, there is a possibility that Tadao Yanase, secretary to the prime minister, had been aware that the bids by the city and the Kake Institution were one and the same.
According to the documents provided by Imabari City, the city’s planning director and deputy director visited the Kantei on April 2, 2015, to “discuss the establishment of a veterinarians’ training university.” The part of the document that stated who the city officials met with was redacted. Governor Tokihiro Nakamura of Ehime Prefecture told the press on August 1 that one Ehime Prefectural official attended the meeting, but did not give his or her name or elaborate on what was discussed.
According to sources, Kake Institution’s admissions director also attended the meeting with the public officials and that it was Yanase who met with them at the Kantei. At the time, Yanase was involved in matters including special strategic districts, TPP, and environmental issues.
Former secretary to the Prime Minister Tadao Yanase says he “doesn’t remember”
“To the best of my recollection, I have not met [with them],” responded Abe’s former secretary Tadao Yanase at an Upper House Budget Committee held on July 25 when asked if he met with any Imabari city officials at the Kantei.
In an interview with Asahi on July 9, Yanase said, “I’ve nothing to add to what I had said before” regarding his meeting with the Imabari city employee, and that he “does not remember” whether or not the Kake Institution’s admissions director was present.
When Asahi contacted the Kake Institution for comments on its director of admissions visiting the Kantei and meeting with Yanase, it responded, “We would like to refrain from responding to your company’s questions.”