• Kyodo

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Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said Thursday he had invited between 100 and 200 supporters to attend this year’s edition of a publicly funded cherry blossom-viewing party at the center of a growing scandal.

Opposition parties have been stepping up criticism that the annual event, which is supposed to honor athletes, celebrities and others for their accomplishments, has been used to entertain supporters of ruling lawmakers as part of election campaigning.

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