National

Opposition camps pressure Abe administration to disclose more info on state-funded cherry blossom party

JIJI

Leading officials from opposition parties on Sunday urged the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to disclose information related to a state-funded cherry blossom-viewing party at the center of cronyism allegations involving his administration.

“Prime Minister Abe and the ruling bloc are totally to blame for preventing policy discussions,” Tetsuro Fukuyama, secretary-general of the largest opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said on a TV program. “Disclosing information is a starting point for discussions,” he added.

Fukuyama said the government should disclose electronic records from a computer linked to a guest list for the Abe-hosted party that was erased and a receipt for a dinner held at a Tokyo hotel on the eve of the party.

Hirofumi Hirano, secretary-general of the Democratic Party for the People, criticized the government for “covering up or tampering with public records” related to the cherry blossom party.

Tomomi Inada, executive acting secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, refrained from directly addressing the opposition’s requests for information disclosure, saying only, “It is necessary to review the way of managing public records.”

Fukuyama also urged the government to cancel its plan to launch casino resorts in Japan, citing concerns about gambling addiction and the bribery scandal involving six members of the Diet.

But Inada stressed the ruling party’s intention to move forward with the gambling initiative, saying the government will give full explanations to the public.

Meanwhile, Tetsuo Saito, secretary-general of Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the LDP, called for discussions on casino resorts that are acceptable to society.

Tsukasa Akimoto, a member of the House of Representatives and a former Cabinet Office state minister for the casino resort initiative, has been arrested on suspicion of taking bribes from a Chinese company that was planning to join an casino resort project in Japan.

The opposition side has introduced a bill to scrap casino-related legislation to the ongoing regular Diet session.

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