Former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is caught in a corruption case. Prosecutors have questioned him in this case. Experts of the case say that this scandal can have an impact on the current Prime Minister Yoshihida Suga. Abe resigned last August due to ill health.
The case in which Abe is questioned this week is related to covert political spending. The matter has been disclosed by a local political organization. This organization is known as ‘Support Group in Japan’. It is alleged that during the visits of his supporters to the cherry blossom dinner parties held every year in Tokyo, his food and food expenses were raised suspiciously. No details of this expenditure were made public. This is in violation of political funding rules.
According to details published in Tokyo newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Abe’s supporters were brought from his constituency Yamaguchi in western Japan to Tokyo from 2015 to last year. They paid only five thousand yen (about 36 pounds) for food in expensive hotels. Whereas two luxury hotels had a total bill of 30 million yen in five years. Abe’s secretary claimed during interrogation that the rest of the expenses were paid by an organization called Abe Transport Group. Abe’s support group was headed by the secretary of the former Prime Minister, who received salaries from the government treasury.
According to reports, during the interrogation of the MPs, Abe claimed that there was no improper work in organizing Cherry Blossom parties. These parties have held the Prime Minister every year since 1952. It is usually held in the spring. Its basic objective was to honor sportspersons, other celebrities and citizens who have made special contributions in various fields. But it is alleged that gradually governments started organizing it to give rewards to their supporters.
Analysts have feared that Abe’s legacy may be tarnished by the scandal. Also, it can have an impact on Prime Minister Suga, who was selected by Abe. Suga was Abe’s chief spokesperson for eight years. When Abe was first accused of this scam, Suga defended him.
Opposition MPs have asked Abe to explain where the money for the Cherry Blossom dinner parties came from. He is also being asked why he had earlier denied the charge of separate payment of the difference of expenses. The opposition is planning to make the matter a big issue of its political campaign.
Also, a fresh investigation has emerged at a time when the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is about to be elected. Suga is the presidential candidate. Opinion polls have led to a huge decline in Suga’s popularity due to this controversy. A month ago, the Suga cabinet’s support level was 56 per cent, which has now come down to 39 per cent.