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Senior LDP lawmaker says charging Kagoike with perjury 'difficult'

Liberal Democratic Party Executive Acting Secretary-General Hakubun Shimomura told reporters on March 26 that the head of school operator Moritomo Gakuen should be charged with perjury over his recent testimony at the Diet about a land deal scandal, but conceded that such a move would be difficult.

"He made many untrue remarks that should be subject to perjury charges," Shimomura said in Tokyo. Moritomo Gakuen chairman Yasunori Kagoike testified under oath before the budget committees in both houses of the Diet on March 23 that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife Akie handed him a 1 million yen donation -- contradicting accounts given by the government, which flat-out denies such a payment ever took place.

To bring a charge of perjury, a two-thirds vote among the participating members of the Diet committee that summoned the sworn witness is required. In previous cases, the norm was for committee members to vote unanimously for charging a witness with perjury.

Shimomura told reporters that, since a unanimous vote was the customary practice, bringing the charge against Kagoike would be "difficult" considering relations with opposition parties.

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