Abe's Popularity Plummets to Record Low in Two Japan Polls

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has denied he played any role in the alleged cover-up of a land sale at the centre of a growing scandal.

Prime Minister Abe pointed out that the deleted parts that mentioned developments related to the deal, such as that Akie at one point was named honorary principal at an elementary school Moritomo Gakuen was planning to open and that she visited the planned site for the school in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, had already been discussed in the Diet from late February to April past year - when the documents in question were falsified.

"Both leaders agreed to continue to work closely together for the denuclearisation of North Korea with preparations underway for summits between the two Koreas and between the US and North Korea".

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe saw his support tumble as public anger continues to rise over cronyism.

The original documents quoted the school operator as saying Akie Abe recommended that the project "move forward because it is a good plot of land".

The scandal centers around a 2016 purchase of a state-owned land at Osaka in Japan which had been sold at one-tenth of its actual price to a person named Yasunori Kagoike to build a kindergarten school.

On Monday, the embattled leader reasserted that he and his wife had no involvement in the cut-price land deal with the involved nationalist school operator Moritomo Gakuen, neither in the more recent revelations of document-tampering related to the shady deal.

Allegations emerged that Mrs Abe had lobbied the government, on behalf of the school, to give a discount. Abe has denied wrongdoing.

The school principal and his wife were arrested last July on suspicion of fraudulently receiving subsidies and remain in jail.

"She is the wife of the prime minister, someone that ministry officials need to give more consideration to than the average Diet member", Koike said during the Upper House session.

While the ongoing cronyism and document-tampering scandal has led to the approval rating for Abe's Cabinet tumbling to 38.7 percent over the weekend, Abe has maintained his innocence, despite public and opposition parties' calls for him to step down.

He has said the responsibility rests with Nobuhisa Sagawa, who had headed up the department which oversaw the land deal.

However, in January, Finance Ministry officials released documents related to the negotiations. Between February and April of previous year, while Sagawa led the ministry's Financial Bureau, officials deleted key details from 14 documents related to that sale, including the particulars of price negotiations over the land and all references to Akie Abe.

But he did acknowledge on Monday that public trust in his administration had been shaken.

Aso, who doubles as deputy prime minister, has also resisted calls from the opposition for him to step down over the revisions made to the documents.

There have been nightly protests around Mr Abe's office over the past week demanding his resignation.

  • Santos West


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