The Japanese government will check all of its remaining statistics if necessary, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday after the infrastructure ministry was found to have overstated construction orders.

The government will “thoroughly investigate other statistics if necessary” even after a third-party probe into the problem, Kishida told a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament.

He was responding to a request by Akira Koike, head of the Japanese Communist Party’s Secretariat, that all of the government’s statistics be investigated.

Koike repeatedly asked who instructed the data alterations, as well as when and why that happened. Infrastructure minister Tetsuo Saito said these have not been confirmed, only reiterating that the third-party panel will look into the matter.

Kishida said that digitalization will be key to improving the management of official records. The Digital Agency will lead the initiative, and law revisions will be made if necessary, he added.

Shun Otokita of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) said the government should change its systems to ensure that official records are preserved permanently and that alterations are prevented.

Otokita made the remark in view of a high-profile document-tampering scandal involving the Finance Ministry over a state land sale to school operator Moritomo Gakuen, previously linked to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“The management of official records is very important in fulfilling accountability to current and future citizens. It also forms the backbone of democracy,” Kishida said.

Referring to the Moritomo Gakuen scandal, Koike urged Kishida to meet with the widow of Toshio Akagi, a worker at the ministry’s Kinki Local Finance Bureau who committed suicide after being allegedly forced to tamper with documents, to apologize and explain the situation to her.

“We need to be cautious about meeting directly,” Kishida said, citing an ongoing lawsuit on information disclosure filed by the widow against the government.

Also, Kishida said the government will consider acquiring the capability to attack enemy bases as part of discussions to revise the country’s National Security Strategy.

He promised to secure necessary defense equipment if the acquisition policy is included in the revised strategy.

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