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Thousands turn out in rain to demand Abe Cabinet resign

Demonstrators brave the rain to call for the Abe Cabinet to resign, among other demands, in front of the Diet Building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on June 10, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- About 27,000 people participated in a rally in front of the Diet Building here on June 10 despite strong rain to demand that the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resign over favoritism scandals and other issues, organizers said.

Citizens and opposition legislators were among those who participated in the gathering, arranged by an organizing committee comprising more than 20 citizens' groups.

One attendee said, "Can we leave important tasks to an administration that can't even solve problems involving the Moritomo Gakuen scandal?"

The participant was referring to a favoritism scandal involving the heavily discounted sale of state-owned land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen in Osaka Prefecture and the Finance Ministry's doctoring of relevant documents. Moritomo was linked to the prime minister's wife Akie Abe, who was at one point named as honorary principal of an elementary school that the school corporation had planned to build at the site in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture.

During the rally, demonstrators held placards saying, "Decent politics" and "The Abe administration should resign" among other messages while chanting the slogan, "Get to the bottom of the Moritomo scandal."

Some participants expressed distrust in Prime Minister Abe's response to the scandal.

"I have serious questions about the prime minister and his wife's response to the matter. I was driven to come here," said Toru Iura, 67, a self-employed man from Aoba Ward, Yokohama.

"Prime Minister Abe appears to lie without hesitation. I have come here to raise questions about the scandal in front of the Diet," said former nurse Atsuko Mori, 62, from Osaka's Joto Ward.

(Japanese original by Makiko Osako, Tokyo City News Department)

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