Japan's Abe cancels controversial gov't-funded cherry-blossom event

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-13 21:43:47|Editor: xuxin
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TOKYO, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to cancel a government-funded cherry-blossom viewing event in 2020, the top government spokesman said Wednesday.

As the event's criteria of selecting guests have been under fire by the opposition forces, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government will carry out a "comprehensive" review.

"Given there are various views on the cherry-blossom viewing event, we'd like to clarify the invitation criteria, make the process transparent and conduct a comprehensive review, including the budget and the number of invitees," Suga said at a press conference, adding the cancellation of the event next year was Abe's own decision.

The cherry-blossom appreciation event, held every April since 1952, came to the public's high attention after it was revealed that Abe's supporters were among those invited, raising questions about the use of taxpayers' money.

Under Abe's administration, the number of guests and the amount of money spent by the government on the gathering have been on the rise, according to local media reports.

The opposition forces have called for the release of past guest lists, but the Cabinet Office has said they have been discarded as there was no need to keep them.