Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife, Akie, resigned as honorary head of a private elementary school in Osaka whose parent firm is caught up in a growing scandal over a suspicious land deal and allegations of hate speech, as questions mount about not only the prime minister, but also Defense Minister Tomomi Inada's ties with the school.

Abe's wife had been named honorary principal of Moritomo Gakuen's Mizuho no Kuni elementary school, which is expected to open this April. A photograph and a message from her had been prominently displayed at the top of the school's web page until Thursday, when it was removed without explanation.

"Based on its remarkable moral education, Mizuho no Kuni elementary school fosters children to have pride as a Japanese and a strong inner self," Akie had written in the deleted greetings.