Japanese government’s plans for the economy thrown into disarray by land scandal

Author: Eamonn Sheridan | Category: News

Bloomberg report in the ramifications for Japanese economic policy of the scandal surrounding the school land sale revelations

  • Opposition parties are boycotting hearings on the budget for the fiscal year (new FY begins April 1)
  • Parliament yet to confirm the Bank of Japan's new leadership
  • Finance minister Aso's trip next week to a Group of 20 meeting in Argentina in doubt
  • Administration trying to shepherd labour market reforms through the Diet 
  • Admin also trying to craft a response to U.S. President Donald Trump's recently announced tariffs
  • Debate on constitutional revision and the submission of a bill on casinos are also likely to be delayed
  • The scandal "will continue to inhibit the administration's ability to move its agenda through the Diet," Tobias Harris, vice president at Teneo Intelligence in Washington, wrote in a note. Abe's work reforms "could be shelved as opposition parties use parliamentary tactics to stall deliberations and force the government to address the Moritomo scandal," he said referring to the name of the school organization
More at that link above 

For background ... 

This from around a year ago:
  • An educator accused of using his political clout to curry favor with Japanese politicians, including the first family ... Yasunori Kagoike ... his Moritomo Gakuen group purchased land from the government at one-seventh the price of the plot's assessed value, according to a public copy of the land sale.
  • The land was bought to build a school. parliament is now looking into whether Kagoike, who has been accused of promoting extreme nationalist views, used his connections with some right-leaning politicians -- including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- to secure a discount for Moritomo Gakuen, which runs schools in Japan, when the land was bought in June.
Then over the weekend just past:
  • Japan's Finance Ministry to admit to the Diet on Monday that alterations were made to documents on a controversial state land deal
On Monday in Asia:
Japan's Finance Ministry admits a total of 14 Moritomo documents were forged
  • admits it forged the documents
  • forgery occurred around February 2017
  • First Lady Akie Abe's name was reportedly in the original Finance Ministry documents, but was removed in the forgery
Japan's finance minister Aso confirms documents were altered
  • Apologises for ministry's involvement in the alteration
  • Says that alterations in the land sale documents were extremely regrettable
  • To fully cooperate with the probe
  • Some ministry staff ordered alteration of documents
  • Entire investigation isn't complete yet
  • No intention to resign
  • Says that former tax agency chief Sagawa was ultimately responsible
  • Will not let this kind of thing happen again (hmm, what about the other stuff that has already happened?)
  • Says that alterations weren't aimed at protecting Abe or Abe's wife