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A senior ruling Liberal Democratic Party official took a cautious attitude on Sunday toward opposition calls for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to be summoned to the Diet to testify on allegations of illegal payments over dinner functions for supporters.

Hiroshi Moriyama, the Liberal Democratic Party's Diet affairs chief, speaks to reporters Sunday in the city of Kumamoto. | KYODO
Hiroshi Moriyama, the Liberal Democratic Party’s Diet affairs chief, speaks to reporters Sunday in the city of Kumamoto. | KYODO

Regarding the scandal, the opposition camp is demanding parliamentary testimony by Abe under oath or explanations by him at the budget committees of both chambers of the Diet.

“The issue is not suitable at all for sworn testimony. I also wonder if it is fair for him to speak at the budget committees,” Hiroshi Moriyama, parliamentary affairs chief of the LDP, told reporters in Kumamoto.

Abe’s side is suspected of illegally covering part of the costs for dinners held on the eve of publicly funded cherry blossom-viewing parties hosted by Abe over the five years to 2019.

Moriyama supported calls from some in the ruling coalition for Abe to speak behind closed doors at meetings of the directors of the parliamentary committees on rules and administration.

Rejecting opposition demands for Abe to testify in an open meeting, Moriyama said the prosecution has not announced its conclusion on the scandal.

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