IMABARI, EHIME PREF. - Kake Gakuen, one of two school entities at the center of favoritism allegations involving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, denied Saturday that its head met with him in February 2015 as indicated by a recently disclosed document.
But its latest denial clashes with yet another confirmation from Shikoku officials that the meeting did take place. The mayor of Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, said Friday that one of his officials has confirmed the February 2015 meeting occurred.
On Saturday, Kake Gakuen said in a statement that its officials gave “incorrect information” to the Ehime prefectural and Imabari municipal governments saying Abe and Kotaro Kake met. This was apparently a reference to a document the prefectural government submitted earlier in the week to the Diet. The document shows Abe and Kake met to discuss a rare veterinary school project on Feb. 25 — nearly two years before the government approved it on Jan. 20, 2017 — the same day Abe, who is suspected of pulling strings for Kake, claims he learned about the project for the first time.
Imabari Mayor Ryoji Kan made the remark in talks with reporters at Imabari City Hall but declined to specify the date when Abe and his longtime friend Kotaro Kake, who runs the school, supposedly met.
Kake Gakuen’s project called for setting up a university faculty for veterinary medicine in a national strategic special deregulation zone in Imabari. The faculty opened last month, becoming the first university department of its type to open in Japan in 52 years. New schools are rare because the nation is already considered to have enough veterinary schools and opening a new one requires government approval.
Kan’s remark came after the Ehime Prefectural Government submitted the document to the Diet Monday.