Yasunori Kagoike, the leader of a right-wing kindergarten, will be probed by Japanese lawmakers on Thursday. He claims to have received $9,000 in cash from Akie Abe, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife. Mr Abe vehemently denied that he, his wife or a third party ever funded the institution, saying he’ll quit politics altogether if the allegations are proven.
Last month, the plot thickened when it emerged that Moritomo Gakuen – the ultra-nationalist kindergarten at the centre of the scandal – paid a quarter of the market price for government-owned land and was subsequently fully reimbursed. Until recently, Mrs Abe served as “honorary principal” of the kindergarten, which makes three-year-olds recite pre-WWII pledges to “offer [them]selves courageously to the state”.
The story has dominated Japanese headlines over the past few days, damaging the popular prime minister’s approval ratings. With Mr Kagoike expected to repeat his claim in parliament on Thursday, Shinzo Abe will face a media frenzy when he returns from Europe on Wednesday.
Dig deeper: Normalising Japan: rearming or alarming?
Simon is the founder of Foreign Brief who served as managing director from 2015 to 2021. A lawyer by training, Simon has worked as an analyst and adviser in the private sector and government. Simon’s desire to help clients understand global developments in a contextualised way underpinned the establishment of Foreign Brief. This aspiration remains the organisation’s driving principle.