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LDP refuses to summon Inada to testify over alleged cover-up of GSDF logs

LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Wataru Takeshita, left, and his DP counterpart Kazunori Yamanoi, center, are pictured in a meeting at the Diet on July 31, 2017. (Mainichi)

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has refused to summon former Defense Minister Tomomi Inada to testify in out-of-session Diet meetings over the alleged cover-up of logs of Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) peacekeepers in South Sudan.

LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Wataru Takeshita conveyed the party's decision to Kazunori Yamanoi, his counterpart at the largest opposition Democratic Party (DP), in a meeting at the Diet on July 31. Takeshita had told Yamanoi earlier that the LDP would "make efforts" to summon Inada.

"Inada's resignation was the heaviest form of taking responsibility. We've deemed it inappropriate to summon a Cabinet minister who has stepped down," Takeshita told reporters after his July 31 meeting with Yamanoi.

Yamanoi quoted Takeshita as telling him, "I consulted with several members (of the LDP) and concluded that we won't let her appear at the meetings." Yamanoi criticized the LDP's decision and said the DP will continue to demand Inada be summoned to the legislature, saying that the LDP members "construed the prime minister's intention to protect his favorite disciple, and attempted to cover up the allegations."

The LDP and DP have already agreed to open out-of-session meetings of the Diet on Aug. 3, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffles his Cabinet, to probe the allegations. Directors of the House of Representatives Committee on Security agreed on July 31 to be briefed by the Defense Ministry of the outcome of a special inspection on the log cover-up allegations at a meeting on Aug. 1.

Opposition parties demanded that the Aug. 1 meeting be open to the media, but the ruling coalition opposed. Minutes of the directors' meeting will not be created.

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