Japan: Abe Government Rocked by More Scandals


8-01-07, 9:07 am

Abe cabinet lacks political ethics; Chief cabinet secretary suspected of being implicated in office expense scandal

Newly revealed office expense scandals are rocking the Abe Cabinet. Agriculture Minister Akagi Norihiko allegedly reported expenditures on a non-existent office, and the recent issue of Akahata Sunday Edition revealed that Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisa reported office expenses that are unaccounted for.

On July 21, it was revealed that Akagi reported in his political funds report a total of 12.2 million yen as operating expenditures, including office expenses, of a political organization for seven years up to 2004, despite the fact that the organization closed its office in 1996.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on July 22 at a press conference held in Sapporo City criticized the Abe Cabinet for trying to cover up the truth about a series of office expense scandals involving cabinet ministers.

Shii said, “This is a lot of money. Mr. Akagi explained that he had only failed to report the relocation of the office. If his explanation is true, the failure still violated the law.”

Pointing out that Akagi is also suspected of reporting fictitious office expenses using his parents’ home, Shii demanded that Akagi make public receipts of office expenses or resign from the ministerial post. “If he refuses both, the prime minister must dismiss him,” said Shii.

According to Akahata Sunday Edition dated July 22, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki reported in 2005 office expenses of 21 million yen for his supporter group’s organization and a Liberal Democratic Party branch headed by Shiozaki combined, of which only 13.3 million yen is accounted for.

Both organizations registered the same address in Matsuyama City as their offices. While reporting office expenses of 15 million yen, his supporter group’s organization used only 450 yen in 2005.

Shii said, “This is very strange. Does this organization really exist? The chief cabinet secretary must specify how the office expenses were used.”

Stressing that under the Abe Cabinet, ministers have been implicated one after another in corruption scandals and made outrageous remarks, Shii stated, “This cabinet has the lowest of political and ethical standards.”

“Corporate donations and government subsidies to political parties have caused this ethical paralysis. The JCP will call for putting an end to the root cause during this election campaign,” Shii added.

From Akahata

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