Finance Minister forfeits 1 year's ministerial salary
NHK -- Jun 04
Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso says he will forfeit one year's ministerial salary and take responsibility for his ministry's role in document tampering.

The documents in question relate to the controversial sale of state-owned land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

Aso said, "Government officials should never falsify administrative documents, or submit those falsified documents to the Diet. It is extremely regrettable such things happened. And the way officials handled records of negotiations was extremely inappropriate. I deeply apologize."

On Monday, the Finance Ministry released the findings of an in-house investigation. It listed 20 senior bureaucrats who will face disciplinary action.

The report concluded the falsifications were effectively ordered by then-chief of the Financial Bureau, Nobuhisa Sagawa. Sagawa repeatedly defended the Moritomo deal last year. He resigned amid the controversy the ministry plans to deduct money from his pension.

A former subordinate of Sagawa will also be given a suspension, in this case it's for one month. The other officials will face a range of disciplinary action including official warnings and salary deductions.

In 2016, the Finance Ministry sold the land to Moritomo Gakuen, for a fraction of the market value.

The Prime Minister's wife, Akie Abe, was set to be the honorary principal of a new school on the land, sparking allegations of favoritism.

Then this year, the Finance Ministry admitted to the document tampering, including the removal of references to Akie Abe and politicians.

森友学園を巡る文書の改ざん問題で4日、財務省は佐川氏の指示による改ざんだったと認めました。一方、麻生財務大臣は、なぜ改ざんされたのかについては分からないと繰り返している。  麻生財務大臣:「決裁を得た行政文書を改ざんし、それを国会等に提出するようなことは、あってはならないこと。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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