Protesters rally in Tokyo after Abe denies abusing influence
By Ji Xin

2017-07-25 14:19 GMT+8

Many in Tokyo protested on Monday against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s denial that he had misused his influence to help a friend in a growing favoritism scandal. 

Abe was questioned in Parliament on Monday over allegations he intervened to help his friend gain approval to open a new veterinary school in western Japan. Abe said he only sought reforms for the sector and did not directly get involved in the decision on his friend’s application. He said he learned of his friend Kotaro Kake’s plans only after the application was filed this year.

However, activists believe the prime minister misused public power for private interests, saying they are not convinced by his words.

“Though the opposition party wanted to hold the relevant officials accountable for this, some officials said the documents are gone and some argue that they don’t remember it and there is no record. They are just finding excuses, rather than seriously answering questions,” said a protester. 

Another protester argued that there ought to be some clarity about the reason for selecting this school to open a new veterinary department. 

“Prime Minister Abe did not explain it clearly and just said he had no connection to it. I think this is unconvincing,” she added.

(With inputs from AP)