Lawmakers accuse Japan’s Abe of false testimony in scandal

Japanese lawmakers questioned Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in parliament for a second day Tuesday about a cronyism scandal, with some opposition members accusing him of testifying falsely a day earlier when he denied using his influence to help a friend.

Documents and whistleblowers suggest that officials bent rules and provided special advice to Abe’s friend, Kotaro Kake, to help him open a new veterinary school in western Japan.

The two-day hearing in parliament focused on whether Abe was personally involved.

Abe repeatedly denied using his influence to help Kate, and said he learned of the plan for the school only after Kake submitted a formal application in January.

“We meet as friends, but we never seek or give favors,” Abe said. “I have never advised him to visit the ministers in charge.”

Opposition lawmakers slammed Abe for giving several different dates for when he first learned of his friend’s plan for a new veterinary school, with some accusing him of perjury. They said it was impossible for Abe to be unaware of his friend’s years-long plan until January if other officials already knew.

Since the late 2000s, Kake and the city of Imabari worked together to open a veterinary school in the region, but were unsuccessful until the creation of a special economic zone directly headed by Abe.

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