Abe denies couple’s involvement in land deal

The plot was sold last year to school operator Moritomo Gakuen at a price far below the appraised value. The operator had planned to open an elementary school on the site.

Abe spoke at the Upper House Budget Committee on Friday about the sworn testimonies given by Moritomo Gakuen President Yasunori Kagoike at 2 Diet committees the day before.

Regarding a fax from a government aide of Abe’s wife, Akie, Kagoike said he received it after he left a voice message asking for help in securing the land.

The fax said that an inquiry was made with the Finance Ministry, but the government couldn’t meet the request.

Abe told the Diet committee on Friday that the fax was merely a notice from his wife’s aide about the result of the inquiry.

He stressed that this was not influence peddling or putting improper pressure on the ministry.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has denied that he or his wife had any involvement in the controversial sale of state-owned land in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan. (NHK)

Saitama Prefectural Police have arrested a chef from Osaka for allegedly releasing dozens of live cockroaches during an anime song concert at an arena last year, reports TBS News. (tokyoreporter.com)

An educator accused of using his clout to curry favor with Japanese politicians, including the first family, told lawmakers under oath Thursday that he believes political intervention helped him secure a deal to purchase land from the government. (CNN)

Though “Super Mario Run” has lifted Nintendo’s profits less than many had hoped, Mario remains the protagonist of the company’s mobile strategy, with a jump to a new smartphone platform highlighting the game producer’s main goal of expanding its fan base. (Nikkei)

The 1,000-year-old pilgrimage to the Kumano Sanzen – the three great Shinto shrines on Japan’s Kii Peninsula south of Osaka – was once so popular that “like ants on the Kumano pilgrimage” became a popular description of crowds. (torontosun.com)

The Japanese yen’s recent rise against the dollar has defied conventional market wisdom, but a stronger currency may actually support Japan as it confronts the Trump administration on matters of trade and foreign exchange. (Reuters)

North Korea accused Japan of espionage on Thursday, nearly a week after Tokyo placed a reconnaissance satellite into orbit. (UPI)

A 27-year-old man who threatened an employee of a parcel delivery company with a chainsaw and uploaded the video of it on YouTube last December was found guilty and handed an 18-month sentence suspended for three years by the Tsu District Court in Mie Prefecture on Wednesday. (Japan Today)

Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a male temporary worker for allegedly attempting to strip a woman of her underwear in a park in Edogawa Ward last year, reports TBS News. (tokyoreporter.com)

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has unveiled an outline of a facility designed to boost young people’s communication skills in the English language.

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