ABE’S OFFICE MAY HAVE ILLEGALLY SPENT MILLIONS OF YEN ON PARTIES
The office of former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is suspected of covering a shortfall of about 8 million yen ($77,000) spent on dinner functions held for supporters during his time as leader, a possible violation of the political funds control law, sources with knowledge of the situation told Kyodo news service.
Prosecutors have questioned one of Abe's secretaries and multiple other supporters over allegations that his office illegally paid an amount for each dinner function held annually between 2013 and 2019 at Tokyo hotels. Abe told reporters on Tuesday that his office is "fully cooperating with the investigation. I can't say anything more than that at this stage."
The questioning came after a criminal complaint was filed in May against Abe, the state-paid secretary and his fund manager by lawyers and scholars, claiming they broke the law by failing to report the payment of the difference between the total costs of each party and the contributions paid by attendees.
The approximately 8 million yen in question was allegedly spent over five years from 2015 for the dinner functions at two hotels in the capital where the total bills exceeded 20 million yen, far larger than the amount collected from ticket sales. Each dinner function was organized by an Abe supporter group on the eve of an annual public cherry blossom viewing party, itself another cause of controversy for the former leader as he has been criticized for inviting hundreds of his backers to the taxpayer-funded events.