• Jiji


The government on Thursday acknowledged the existence of documents related to the tampering of official records about the dubious discount sale of state land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

The government plans to submit the documents to Osaka District Court on June 23 for a hearing in a lawsuit filed by the widow of Toshio Akagi, a former Finance Ministry bureaucrat who committed suicide in 2018 over the tampering scandal.

The documents include a detailed account of the tampering process in chronological order and the emails regarding the scandal between the ministry's Financial Bureau and the Kinki Local Finance Bureau.

The government had previously declined to say whether the documents existed. Once revealed, the documents may shed light on how and why the government ordered the doctoring of documents related to the discount land sale to the school operator, which was linked to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife, Akie.

The government acknowledged the existence of the so-called Akagi file in a written opinion submitted to the court.

According to the opinion, the government had searched for the file and confirmed its contents with a former superior to Akagi.

The government said that it needed to redact some information on the file, including personal information of third parties. It said that it will take time to determine the scope of the redaction, but noted that it plans to cover up as little as possible.

According to the suit, Akagi, a former employee at the local finance bureau, tampered with official documents under the orders of a superior on multiple occasions from February 2017.

Akagi took his own life at the age of 54 at his home in March 2018, after the tampering was made public. A former superior to Akagi had said that the documents would reveal all of the tampering process, according to the suit.

The widow, Masako Akagi, 50, filed the suit in March last year, asking for ¥112 million in damages from the government and Nobuhisa Sagawa, who was director-general of the ministry's Financial Bureau at the time. The court had given the government until Thursday to submit the documents voluntarily.

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