The Friday editions of all national dailies reported extensively on the decision made on Thursday by the special investigation unit of the Tokyo Public Prosecutors Office not to indict former Prime Minister Abe over his supporters’ group’s spending of millions of yen for dinner receptions held ahead of government-sponsored annual cherry blossom viewing parties between 2013 and 2019. The prosecutors sought a summary indictment for one of Abe’s state-paid secretaries for violating the Political Funds Control Law by failing to keep legally required financial records of the spending related to the receptions. The prosecutors said that there was not sufficient evidence to prove that Abe knew of the improper reporting by the group. Abe told reporters after the prosecutors’ decision that he is remorseful because his repeated statements made at the Diet in the past denying that the group partially covered the costs of the receptions turned out to be false.
In a follow-up development, the Saturday editions wrote that Abe was grilled over the scandal in both houses of the Diet on Friday, and he apologized and corrected his statements regarding the matter. Abe said that although his aide made false explanations about the spending without his knowledge, he feels morally responsible for the scandal and apologized to the people and all Diet members. However, he ruled out the possibility of resigning from the House of Representatives.