A judicial panel is urging prosecutors to reinvestigate a case against a former senior Finance Ministry official who was involved in the state land sale that sparked allegations of cronyism against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The Osaka No. 1 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution said Friday in its March 15 decision that it was "unjust" that prosecutors decided not to indict Nobuhisa Sagawa for charges including alleged document-tampering in connection with the heavily discounted sale of land in 2016 to school operator Moritomo Gakuen, which had ties to Abe's wife, Akie.

But the independent judicial panel of citizens stopped short of demanding the indictment of Sagawa, who led the ministry bureau that handled the land sale. As a result, Sagawa is unlikely to face mandatory indictment.