December 3rd – Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s suspected misappropriation of public funds for banquets continues to attract public attention in Japan. Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported on the 3rd that the Tokyo Geo-Ageo Special Search Department has asked for a questioning about Abe himself to understand the truth. On the same day, Abe responded.
On the 3rd, Abe said in an interview that he had not heard that the special search department asked him to answer the question. Tokyo’s special search department said that Abe’s secretary and others had been questioned. The secretary has admitted to posting money for the “cherry appreciation” banquet, saying that “it has been recorded in the income and expenditure report of Abe Support Association”.
Abe answers reporters’ questions (Insianjing News)
From 2013 to 2019, such large-scale dinners were held every year, paying 5,000 yen per participant, but there was a gap with actual consumption, which was filled by Abe. In the five years from 2015 to 2019 alone, the total payment amounted to 8 million to 9 million yen ($90k to $95k).
Tokyo’s special search department suspected that Abe and his support club might misappropriate public funds for banquets. Abe had previously responded that the expenses were paid by the banquet participants themselves.
According to previous Japanese media reports, from 2013 to 2019, Abe’s government will hold a large-scale banquet called the “Etnight Festival” on the eve of the “Cherry Appreciation Party”, which is headed by a political group called “Shinzo Abe Support Association”.
Sources revealed that from 2015 to 2019, the hotels hosting the “Evil Festival” received a total of 23 million yen for the event, but in these five years, Abe and his support club collected a total of more than 14 million yen from participants.
The Tokyo Land Prosecutor’s Office’s special search department believes that the funding gap of about 9 million yen has been filled by Abe himself and his support, and the source of funds is under investigation.
Since 1952, the Japanese government has held a “cherry blossom appreciation party” in the capital Shinjuku Imperial Garden, Tokyo, inviting representatives from all walks of life to enjoy cherry blossoms with the Prime Minister at the expense of the government. During Abe’s administration, the budget of the “cherry blossom appreciation party” increased significantly.