Take the pledge to vote

For a better tommorow#AajSawaroApnaKal
  • I agree to receive emails from News18

  • I promise to vote in this year's elections no matter what the odds are.
  • Please check above checkbox.

    SUBMIT

Thank you for
taking the pledge

Vote responsibly as each vote counts
and makes a diffrence

Disclaimer:

Issued in public interest by HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (Formerly HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited) (“HDFC Life”). CIN: L65110MH2000PLC128245, IRDAI Reg. No. 101 . The name/letters "HDFC" in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited ("HDFC Limited") and is used by HDFC Life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN EU/04/19/13618
LIVE TV DownloadNews18 App
News18 English
News18 » World
3-min read

Japan's Abe Denies Abusing Influence in Favouritism Scandal

Abe is expected to reshuffle his Cabinet next week, after seeing public approval sink following various scandals and his party's railroading of unpopular legislation.

Associated Press

Updated:July 24, 2017, 2:31 PM IST
facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp
Japan's Abe Denies Abusing Influence in Favouritism Scandal
File photo of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Photo: Reuters)
Loading...

Tokyo: Grilled by opposition lawmakers as approval ratings for his Cabinet sink, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday repeated his denials that he misused his influence to help a friend in a growing favoritism scandal.

The questioning outside parliament's ordinary session, a rare occurrence, underscores the ruling Liberal Democrat party's eagerness to regain public trust.

Abe is expected to reshuffle his Cabinet next week, after seeing public approval sink following various scandals and his party's railroading of unpopular legislation.

Monday's questioning was over allegations that Abe intervened to help a friend, Kotaro Kake, gain approval to open a veterinary school in western Japan.

During the session in the lower house of parliament, Abe said he only sought reforms for the sector in a special economic zone and did not directly get involved in the decision on Kake's application.

"I only instructed to speed up efforts for the deregulation reforms. I have never issued instructions on specific cases," Abe said. "The approval is a result of the process that was appropriate and open."

The school scandal erupted after a whistleblower and former top education ministry bureaucrat, Kihei Maekawa, came forward to say that Abe's office had had significant influence over the school's approval and distorted the decision.

Scores of ministry documents showed the alleged pressure for an early approval of Kake's application came from the "top levels" of the Prime Minister's Office, said Maekawa.

He and other witnesses, including bureaucrats and two former members of the Abe-commissioned panel on the school, said they were not directly instructed by Abe. Given the lack of significant center-left alternatives or strong rivals within his party, Abe's tenure as prime minister is not under immediate threat.

Still, Abe, in his second stint as prime minister, is getting the message that he might have to tread a bit more softly in pushing for some of his top political priorities, such as revising Japan's war-renouncing constitution.

Approval ratings for Abe's Cabinet, which had enjoyed stable popularity of around 50 per cent until earlier this year, recently nosedived to just above 30 per cent, and have hit new lows.

Results from Mainichi newspaper polls taken over the weekend show that support ratings for Abe's Cabinet stood at 26 per cent, down 10 points from last month, with 56 per cent disapproving of his government.

Sixty-two per cent of the respondents said Abe should step down when his term ends next year, while only 23 per cent supported his extended leadership. Abe is also under fire for not replacing his protege, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, despite repeated scandals. The latest one involves an alleged cover-up of internal documents, including the daily activities and safety conditions of Japan's Self-Defense Force during its UN peacekeeping operations in South Sudan.

The Liberal Democrats suffered a symbolically damaging loss in Tokyo city assembly elections in early July.

On Sunday, their candidate lost a closely watched mayoral election in Sendai, in northern Japan. The losses in the polls are a major setback for Abe because much of his party support was for his record of election victories. Abe, who took office in late 2012, was seeking a third term when his term ends in 2018.

During the questioning today, Abe acknowledged that Kake, director of a major education organisation, was a friend even before he became a lawmaker in 1993. But he said Kake has not tried to tap Abe's position or influence to obtain preferential treatment and did not discuss with him his plans to open a new veterinary school in Imabari, in western Japan. Kake's desire to open such a school was not secret: The application had been repeatedly denied by past administrations for years.

Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and gain access to curated markets data, trading recommendations, equity analysis, investment ideas, insights from market gurus and much more. Get Moneycontrol PRO for 1 year at price of 3 months. Use code FREEDOM.

| Edited by: Swati Sharma
Read full article
Loading...
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch

facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp

Live TV

Loading...
Countdown To Elections Results
To Assembly Elections 2018 Results