Abe's wife accused of giving cash-filled envelope in scandal
The head of a Japanese educational foundation at the center of a real estate scandal told parliament he received a donation from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe via his wife, prompting a fresh denial from the top government spokesman.
Speaking under oath in the Diet for the first time on Thursday, school principal Yasunori Kagoike said that Akie Abe personally handed him an envelope containing 1 million yen ($9,000) in cash during her September 2015 visit to a kindergarten operated by the nationalist group.
"She told me it was from Shinzo Abe," Kagoike said.
Afterward, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reiterated previous denials.
"The prime minister did not make a donation himself," he said. "He did not donate through his wife Akie, nor through his office or a third party," he said, adding that it was his understanding that Abe's wife didn't made a donation in a personal capacity either.
Abe said he had already explained himself and referred reporters to Suga's remarks.
The allegations have dented Abe's popularity and may prompt him to delay calling an election due by the end of next year. Questions over how the foundation, known as Moritomo Gakuen, was able to purchase publicly owned land in Osaka for a fraction of its market value have
dominated parliamentary discussions for weeks.
Lawmakers summoned Kagoike to parliament under his real name, which is Yasuhiro Kagoike.
The school operator told lawmakers he had been a "big fan" of Abe, but decided to make his case public after Abe referred to him in parliament as "extremely pushy."