Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a Diet committee that his wife has received no payment from an elementary school that is scheduled to open in April in Osaka.
Akie Abe resigned as honorary principal of the school after it was revealed that the land for the school was purchased at a price much lower than its appraised value.
Opposition lawmakers raised questions about the sale of the state-owned plot of land last year to the school’s operator, Moritomo Gakuen.
Responding to questions from an opposition party lawmaker on Monday, the prime minister said neither he nor his wife Akie had anything to do with the deletion of her speech from the operator’s website.
He told the Lower House budget committee that suggesting he was behind the deletion amounts to “branding.” He criticized those using loaded terms to make it appear as though he was being manipulative.
Abe said his wife did not receive any fee from the school’s operator for delivering a speech or for becoming its honorary principal.
The opposition lawmaker also indicated that education policy at a kindergarten run by the same operator is too political and could pose legal problems.
The prime minister said he knows nothing about education at the kindergarten. He said Osaka Prefecture is in charge of the issue and that the Education Ministry should be in full control of what’s going on.
Abe said he believes it is inappropriate that children at the kindergarten were made to say “Stay strong, Prime Minister Abe!” in an oath of fair play at an athletic meet.
He said he absolutely does not want to hear such words from preschoolers.NHK