National / Politics

New tax agency chief, apparently wary of Moritomo grilling, to skip debut news conference

JIJI

The National Tax Agency has said its new chief, Nobuhisa Sagawa, will not hold an inaugural news conference, a tradition that dates back at least a decade.

Sources said he was likely wary of facing tough questions from reporters about the Moritomo Gakuen scandal, but in a Tuesday announcement, the agency said only that various factors were involved in the decision.

As a Finance Ministry bureau chief earlier this year, Sagawa came under fire for refusing to give clear explanations when he was grilled by opposition parties in the Diet over the state’s hugely discounted land sale to scandal-tainted school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

Former head of Moritomo Gakuen Yasunori Kagoike and his wife were arrested late last month for the suspected swindling of state subsidies.

Instead of holding a news conference, the agency released a statement from Sagawa saying he is honored to take on the role.

Media organizations have repeatedly requested chances to interview Sagawa since he took office in July.

Coronavirus banner