Special Advisor to Prime Minister Hiroto Izumi was criticized for putting pressure on the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology over the scandal involving the Kake Educational Institution. It appears that he is meddling in the selection of the site for the U.S. military aircraft’s landing and takeoff training.
Currently, the Defense Ministry is aiming to purchase the island of Mageshima in Kagoshima Prefecture and negotiating with the landowner. In response to 4 billion yen offered by the ministry, the landowner is demanding an amount ten times more than the government’s offer. Although the difference is gradually being narrowed down, a large gap remains between them. Although Izumi is not in charge of defense affairs, he is urging to resolve the issue as early as possible by utilizing the Compulsory Purchase of Land Act. He also referred to the application of a “bill for effectively utilizing lands owned by the unknown” to be submitted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to an ordinary Diet session. The bill is aimed at regarding landowners who don’t cooperate with the government’s public works projects as the missing, so it could draw criticism as a high-handed measure by the government. Izumi reportedly pressed a defense ministry official in charge of the matter, saying, “Why don’t you become more assertive?”
However, as local residents oppose the government’s plan, if the government will decide to purchase the targeted land by the Compulsory Purchase of Land Act, it would inevitably draw severe public criticism. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reportedly supports the current negotiation, saying, “Purchase the land by increasing the size of payment if necessary.” Taking advantage of Suga’s stance toward the current negotiation, the ministry is refusing to follow Izumi. However, some defense ministry officials have a pessimistic view about the purchase with one of them saying, “The ministry may eventually have to give up on purchasing the island.”