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Deputy chief Cabinet secretary flat out denies involvement in favoritism scandal

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda stands and raises his hand during a meeting of Liberal Democratic Party members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on the night of June 20, 2017. (Mainichi)

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda completely denied his involvement in a plan to open a new veterinary school in a national strategic special economic zone in Ehime Prefecture, as suggested in a document that the education ministry has recently disclosed.

Hagiuda, known as a close aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and who is well-versed in educational administration, released a statement on June 20 after the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology disclosed a document indicating that he informed the ministry that Abe had set a deadline for the opening of a veterinary department. The deadline apparently worked in favor of a plan for school operator Kake Educational Institution headed by one of Abe's close friends to open a veterinary school.

With regard to the deadline mentioned in the document, Hagiuda commented, "I did not hear that there was a specific instruction from the prime minister, nor did I give an order to the education ministry." He said in the statement that the ministry has apologized to him over the document, telling him that it "significantly lacked accuracy." He added, "I am outraged by the fact that the document was leaked outside deliberately."

In addition, Hagiuda spoke at a meeting of Liberal Democratic Party members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on the night of June 20 and said, "I am going to prove that I have not done anything that would distort public administration."

He stressed in his statement that he is on the receiving side of reports (from government bodies including the education ministry) and he "does not give specific instructions or coordinate matters" regarding administrative work. He also denied that he contacted the secretary-general of Kake Educational Institution or told them to meet the director of the education ministry's Technical Education Division, which was mentioned in the document, saying, "I don't even know their name. It's a false claim."

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