National

Records of nationalist Osaka school's land purchase gone: ministry

Kyodo

The negotiation records for a heavily discounted land deal between the Finance Ministry’s Kinki Bureau and nationalist school chain Moritomo Gakuen in Osaka have been thrown out, a senior ministry official said.

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Takeshi Miyamoto told Friday’s Diet session he discovered documents showing a meeting took place and demanded the records be released. But the official said the records were destroyed soon after and insisted no laws were broken.

“In line with ministry regulations, records are discarded after the case is closed,” said Nobuhisa Sagawa, director-general of the ministry’s finance bureau. “Since the case in question was completed when the sales contract was signed (last June), records no longer exist.”

“I have no choice but to call that a cover-up,” Miyamoto said.

Meanwhile, a waste disposal firm involved in building the school said it only disposed of half of the garbage-soil mixture that was already there, and did not replace it with clean soil as intended, Democratic Party lawmaker Yuichiro Tamaki said.

Over two weeks in November last year, it was asked to dispose of 2,000 sq. meters of soil refuse, or about a fifth of that used to claim an ¥800 million discount on the land, Tamaki said. The land was valued at ¥956 million, but Moritomo Gakuen got an ¥800 million discount to cover garbage disposal. It was thus sold for ¥134 million.

School officials told the firm to “minimize the amount of disposal as it will cost us more,” Tamaki said. So it only disposed of about half and buried the rest under what is meant to be the playground.

On Friday, Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui told reporters it will look closely at whether to authorize the school’s opening.

“Toyonaka City (the school site) has said there is no environmental problem for the school to use the land, but it looks certain that garbage is buried under the school playground,” he said.

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