An education ministry panel on Friday approved the opening of a new veterinary school that has been at the center of cronyism allegations leveled at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The school operator seeking to open the school, Kake Gakuen (Kake Educational Institution), is run by Kotaro Kake, a close friend of Abe.

After gaining final approval from the education minister — who has indicated he will give the green light — Kake Gakuen plans to open the facility in April in a government-designated deregulation zone in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture.