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Abe asked to explain support group’s banquet payments

  • December 3, 2020
  • , The Asahi Shimbun , 6:33 p.m.
  • English Press

Prosecutors have asked former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to submit to voluntary questioning about annual hotel banquets that were apparently subsidized by a support group headed by his public aide.


Sources said the questioning of Abe would likely take place after Dec. 5 when the current extraordinary Diet session closes.


While Abe is not suspected of breaking any laws, investigators with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office want to hear his side of what took place regarding the banquets.


Abe’s aide and others have been questioned by prosecutors for failing to include in annual fund reports the expenditures for the hotel banquets held for his supporters on the eve of the annual cherry blossom viewing event that Abe hosted in Tokyo.


The hotel banquets were hosted by the support group headed by Abe’s aide. Participants who traveled to Tokyo from their homes in Yamaguchi Prefecture paid 5,000 yen ($48) each, but hotel receipts show that the actual costs of each banquet were much higher than the fees paid by participants.


Over the five-year period between 2015 and 2019, the support group is suspected of making up the difference of about 9.16 million yen. But the expenditures were never reported on the support group’s annual political fund records, a violation of the Political Fund Control Law.


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