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Few convinced that scandals dogging Abe suitably resolved, Asahi poll

  • June 18, 2018
  • , The Asahi Shimbun , 1:55 p.m.
  • English Press

An overwhelming majority of voters don’t buy the notion that two scandals gnawing away at the Abe administration’s credibility for months have been properly resolved.

 

A weekend survey by The Asahi Shimbun sought to canvas public opinion in light of recent disciplinary measures handed out by the Finance Ministry to officials involved in the tampering and destruction of records related to the sale at a sharp discount of state-owned land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

 

Only 12 percent of respondents regarded the ministry’s action as drawing the curtain on the Moritomo Gakuen issue, while 79 percent said the issue had not been resolved to their satisfaction.

 

Even among those who approved of the Abe Cabinet, 63 percent said closure still remained an issue.

 

Sixty-six percent of respondents had strong reservations about the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office’s decision not to indict any Finance Ministry officials over the matter, especially in light of a criminal complaint alleging possible breach of trust and other violations.

 

Among those who avoided an indictment was Nobuhisa Sagawa, who served as director-general of the Finance Ministry’s Financial Bureau when the tampering and destruction of official documents took place.

 

The other scandal involves the Kake Educational Institution, which is run by Kotaro Kake, a longtime friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

 

Suspicions of favoritism emerged after it won approval to open a veterinary medicine faculty in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture.

 

Abe has been questioned at length about his friendship with Kake.

 

The waters were muddied by the release of a document by Ehime prefectural authorities that referred to a meeting between Abe and Kake before a decision was made on the new faculty.

 

Not only did Abe deny meeting with Kake on the day in question, but officials of the educational institution also said no meeting as described in the Ehime document ever took place.

 

Only 13 percent of Asahi respondents bought the explanations given by Abe and Kake Educational Institution. Sixty-one percent of respondents said Kake should be called before the Diet to explain how his institution won approval for the new faculty.

 

Fifty-seven percent of respondents wanted the Diet to continue trying to get to the bottom of the scandals involving Moritomo Gakuen and Kake Educational Institution, while only 32 percent said there was no need.

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