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Abe scandal is up again, and Yoshihide Suga is under pressure

by YCPress

November 26 The scandal of the “cherry blossom viewing party” of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been fermenting recently. 

The latest investigation by the prosecutors and the media showed that Abe was suspected of illegally providing subsidies to supporters in disguised form and destroying relevant evidence. Abe’s previous statements were proved to be untrue. 

In a parliamentary question on the 25th, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga encountered a fierce offensive from the opposition party.

Analysts believe that the direction of Abe’s case depends largely on the prosecution’s investigation. Abe will not necessarily be prosecuted in the end.

However, due to the deep binding of Yoshihide Suga with the Abe cabinet before coming to power, the direction of the Abe scandal may become Yoshizuki Suga. A hidden danger of the Wei regime.

“Cherry Blossoms” scandal re-emerged

The Abe scandal that has come into focus this time is a follow-up to the “Cherry Blossom Viewing Club” scandal that was exposed in November last year. 

According to Japanese media reports at the time, Abe was suspected of inviting a large number of “affiliated households” every year to participate in the annual “cherry blossom viewing party” organized by the government, including more than 800 members of the Abe Support Association in his hometown of Yamaguchi Prefecture. 

The support club will also hold a dinner party in a high-end hotel in Tokyo on the eve of the “cherry blossom viewing party”, but the fees paid by the participating support club members are significantly lower than the cost of running the meeting, and Abe is suspected of bearing the difference. 

If true, the move is suspected of violating Japan’s “Public Election Law” and “Political Funds Regulation Law.”

The opposition party once pursued the Abe government for this in a parliamentary questioning, but Abe has always insisted that there is no income or expenditure at the dinner party, and the conference expenses are entirely borne by the participants, and the hotel has not issued a receipt. 

However, this week, with the exposure of Japanese prosecutors’ investigation information, this scandal has once again become the focus of public opinion.

According to Japanese media reports, the Special Search Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office recently questioned people around Abe.

The chief secretary of Abe, who is a representative of the Abe Support Association, and the financial manager of his fund management group “Shinwakai” admitted that it was the dinner party. Out of the money. 

Japanese media surveys show that Abe subsidized at least 8 million yen (US$77,000) for five dinner parties from 2015 to 2019, and the hotel also issued a receipt to the “Jinhe Club”, but the receipt The suspicion has been destroyed. These newly disclosed facts obviously contradict Abe’s previous statement.

On April 18, 2015, at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo, Japan, the then Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (first from left) participated in the “Cherry Blossom Party”. (Xinhua News Agency/Reuters)

Prosecutors’ attitude is the key

Why are Japanese prosecutors investigating Abe-related scandals at this time? Japanese legal experts believe that it is largely related to Abe’s resignation.

Maeda Tsunehiko, a former prosecutor of the Special Search Department of the Osaka and Tokyo Prefectural Public Prosecutors, published an article that according to relevant laws, the prosecutor must obtain permission from the Prime Minister to prosecute the current Minister of State. During Abe’s tenure as prime minister, the prosecution was unable to act on Abe. 

However, the situation changed after Abe resigned in September, and the Special Search Department has launched an investigation of Abe since October.

Regarding the trend of the case, the “Asahi Shimbun” believes that the legal threshold for accusing Abe of violating the “Public Election Law” is relatively high, but Abe officials admitted that the expenditure should be recorded in the income and expenditure report, so the prosecutor will mainly use the suspected violation of The Political Funds Regulation Law advances the investigation.

Maeda pointed out that a key point in the investigation of this case is whether Abe was aware of the subsidy issue. According to media reports, Abe’s current “script” is that the secretary deceived Abe arbitrarily, and Abe did not know about it and made an agreement in the Diet. If the facts do not match, the secretary will bear full responsibility.

He believes that whether the prosecutors searched the relevant facilities of the Abe camp and seized evidence such as mails and records will be an indicator of whether the prosecutors ultimately point towards Abe himself.

Suga Yoshihide under pressure

The “Cherry Blossom Viewing Club” scandal re-emerged, and the pressure on Yoshihide Suga, who held high the banner of “Inherit Abe”, rose sharply. As he served as the Chief Cabinet Secretary in the Abe government for a long time, and has repeatedly answered questions from opposition parties in the Diet according to Abe’s caliber, he has also been fiercely attacked by opposition parties and public opinion.

On October 26, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga delivered a policy speech in the Diet. (Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Du Xiaoyi)

In the parliamentary question on the 25th, the opposition party held accountability for Yoshihide Suga’s previous defense and asked to find out the truth, and also asked Abe to go to parliament to accept the question. 

According to reports, due to Yoshihide Suga’s repeated refusal to respond to questions, the opposition parties protested, causing the deliberations to be suspended.

Japan’s Jiji Press commented that Yoshihide Suga had a negative attitude towards solving the suspicion of the case and showed a posture of covering the cover of the “negative legacy” of the previous government. 

Some analysts also pointed out that at present Yoshihide Suga has taken a distance to the Abe scandal, so as to facilitate cutting once things continue to ferment. However, given the “deep bond” of the two in the political arena, cutting is not easy.

The trend of the Abe scandal is not easy for the regime. The potential risks of this cannot be underestimated.