Court to open trial of ex-Moritomo Gakuen chief
NHK -- Mar 06
A former school operator and his wife will go on trial on Wednesday at the Osaka District Court in western Japan. The former president of Moritomo Gakuen is at the center of a favoritism scandal that rocked the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Yasunori Kagoike and his wife, Junko, face a charge of defrauding the government, Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City out of 170 million yen, or about 1.5 million dollars, in school-related subsidies.

Kagoike is expected to argue that he had no intention of deceiving the authorities. His wife will likely plead not guilty.

Moritomo Gakuen made headlines in 2017 after it was found to have purchased state-owned land to build an elementary school at a price well below market value.

As Prime Minister Abe's wife was named as the honorary principal of the planned school in Osaka, the transaction sparked allegations of favoritism.

The Finance Ministry also admitted to altering more than a dozen official documents on the land deal. The series of revelations prompted opposition parties to grill Abe in the Diet.

Osaka prosecutors have not charged any of the finance ministry officials or others who were subject to criminal complaints over the land deal and document tampering.

Kagoike and his wife were arrested in July 2017 and were kept in detention for nearly 10 months.

Kagoike has criticized what he calls a politically motivated investigation. He accuses prosecutors of trying to appease the Abe administration by silencing him and his wife.

News source: NHK
Mar 23
A key part of the business model for convenience stores is their round-the-clock service. But a shortage of staffers is prompting some operators to consider shrinking their business hours. (NHK)
Mar 23
A member of a sister group of the popular all-girl band AKB48 on Friday criticized the outcome of a probe into an assault against her as "lies," as the group's management company revealed the result. (Japan Today)
Mar 23
The number of foreign residents in Japan had risen 6.6 percent at the end of 2018 from a year earlier, to reach a record high of some 2.73 million, Justice Ministry data showed on Friday. (Japan Times)
Mar 23
Companies recruiting technology majors from Japanese universities are bracing for another year of missed targets as the supply of graduates fails to keep pace with broad demand for such skills as AI engineering and data analysis. (Nikkei)
Mar 23
Princess Kako, the 24-year-old granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, expressed her wish for her sister's happiness in a written answer to the media on the occasion of her graduation from International Christian University in Tokyo on Friday. (Kyodo)
Mar 22
Rarely a week passes without hearing about a new type of robot created in Japan. Every other country of the world is wondering how Japan has managed to become a leading technological power. (
Mar 22
The cherry blossom season officially arrived in Tokyo on Thursday after officials from the Meteorological Agency confirmed that more than five blossoms had opened on a Somei-Yoshino cherry tree at Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda Ward. (Japan Times)
Mar 22
Japanese baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki of the US Major Leagues' Seattle Mariners has announced his retirement. (NHK)
Mar 22
Last year proved to be a pivotal one for streaming music in Japan. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, 2018 saw plays via platforms such as YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify overtake digital downloads. (Japan Times)
Mar 21
Cherry trees came into bloom Wednesday in the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki, the first blooming of the "Somei Yoshino" variety in Japan this spring, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. (Japan Today)