Opposition lawmaker irks Abe with ‘Akheed scandal’ jibe


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacted sharply Thursday after an opposition lawmaker described the shady land deal involving the government, an ultranationalist school chain and his wife, Akie, as the “Akheed scandal,” playing on the infamous 1976 Lockheed scandal.

“That way of saying things goes over the limit,” Abe told the House of Councilors Budget Committee in response to the Liberal Party’s Taro Yamamoto, who coined the phrase by combining “Akky,” the nickname of Abe’s wife, with the bribery scandal that took down powerful Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka.

Yamamoto demanded that Abe’s wife testify before the Diet as an unsworn witness.

Abe said, “I’m very displeased with the use of the committee to defame an individual.”

The first lady recently resigned as honorary principal of an elementary school that was set to open this spring on garbage-tainted land in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture.

To build the school, operator Moritomo Gakuen acquired a tract of state-owned land in Toyonaka in 2016 at a steep discount. The operator collected donations for the land by naming the new school after the prime minister.

Abe has denied any personal ties with the head of Moritomo Gakuen or involvement in the controversial land deal, after earlier praising its principal’s ultraconservative ideology.