Yasunori Kagoike (L), president of Moritomo Gakuen school, answers questions during a session of the House of Councillors Budget Committee in Tokyo, March 23, 2017. Yasunori Kagoike, head of a nationalist school operator involved in a land deal scandal in Japan, testified under oath on Thursday that he received 1 million yen (8,900 U.S. dollars) from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife Akie. (Xinhua/Ma Ping)
TOKYO, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Support rate for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet slipped further over a shady land deal scandal here, with the majority of the respondents considering the government not doing enough to clear up the issue, according to a Kyodo News poll released on Sunday.
According to the news agency's telephone survey over the weekend, support rate for the prime minister's cabinet dropped to 52.4 percent, down 3.3 percentage points from a survey on March 11 to March 12, and down 9.3 percentage points compared to a month ago.
82.5 percent of the respondents said the government has not done enough to clear away suspicions surrounding the scandal, while only 10.7 percent said the government has made enough explanations.
62.6 percent said they were not convinced with Abe's denial of any involvement by himself or his wife Akie in the cut-price land deal. Only 28.7 percent said they were convinced that neither of the Abes was involved.
52 percent said Akie Abe should testify under oath in parliament, while 42.8 percent said it was not necessary.
An earlier poll by Nippon News Network (NNN) showed that the support rate for the prime minister's cabinet dropped to 47.6 percent, down 7.3 percentage points from last month, while the disapproval rate increased 6.9 percentage points to 32.9 percent.
There has been an escalating furor surrounding Moritomo Gakuen for a cut-price land deal for the operator to purchase a plot of land from the government at a massively discounted price with the land to be used to build a new elementary school.
Abe's wife, Akie, was supposed to serve as honorary principal of the would-be school, but has since stepped down as the scandal widened and video of the school's nationalist agenda began to be beamed across social media platforms and regular broadcasting sites.
Yasunori Kagoike, head of the school operator, gave sworn testimony in both chambers of parliament on Thursday stating that he thinks the land deal involved "politicians' intervention."
He presented to parliament a fax between him and Akie Abe's aide, Saeko Tani, saying the fax was evidence of the fact that Tani had made inquiries to the Finance Ministry about the land on his behalf.
He also said Akie Abe gave him an envelop containing 1 million yen (8,900 U.S. dollars) on behalf of her husband before giving a speech at a kindergarten run by the school operator on Sept. 5, 2015.
Abe on Friday denied that he or his wife Akie were involved in the murky land deal and said the testimony by Kagoike was regrettable and against the truth.
Japan's opposition parties, while saying Kagoike's testimony was "one-sided," called for Akie Abe and some other key figures to be summoned to parliament to give sworn testimony.
TOKYO, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of students and citizens rallied in front of a parliament building Thursday evening to protest against a school land deal scandal that involves Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie, after a key figure in the scandal testified in parliament earlier in the day.Full story
TOKYO, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The head of a nationalist school operator in Japan at the center of a controversial cut-price land deal reiterated Thursday that he had received a donation of 1 million yen (8,900 dollars U.S. dollars) from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife.Full story