• Jiji


A parliamentary research body has drawn up an investigation report including potentially controversial testimony over a document-tampering scandal involving the Finance Ministry, it has been learned.

The report cites a prepared remark by a former head of the ministry’s Kinki Local Finance Bureau in which he said he had not been told details of the tampering of official documents related to the dubious discounted sale of state land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen, previously linked to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife, Akie.

The remark is contradicted by memos left by former bureau official Toshio Akagi, who killed himself in 2018 at age 54 after he was allegedly forced to tamper with the documents.

The Research Bureau of the House of Representatives drew up the report on its preliminary investigation into the document falsification Monday and submitted it to Takao Ochi, chairman of the chamber’s Financial Affairs Committee.

During the investigation, the ministry showed the Research Bureau a list of expected questions and answers prepared for parliamentary deliberations over the scandal, along with four other documents. The five papers were disclosed for the first time.

The list included a remark by Yoshito Minami, a former Kinki bureau head, saying he had been told about “some corrections” to styles and wording in the documents about the land sale. But he denied hearing details of the document falsification.

In his memos, Akagi claimed that Minami had received reports from his subordinates about the document tampering.

The five disclosed documents also included a copy of one explaining why Minami was admonished in June 2018. The document recognized his supervisory responsibility over the scandal and said he failed to fulfill that responsibility thoroughly.

In the investigation, the Lower House bureau asked the ministry to submit a file on details of the tampering that Akagi is said to have compiled.

But the ministry refused to say whether the file actually existed or how extensively the ministry searched for the file.

The Research Bureau opened the investigation in April this year at the request of major opposition parties following the disclosure of Akagi’s memos.

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