Shinzo Abe has expressed remorse in parliament over his political fund scandal

Former prime minister stressed he was unaware of wrongdoing

Shinzo Abe has expressed remorse in parliament over his political fund scandal

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed deep remorse on Friday for previously making untrue explanations in parliament over a scandal involving allegations of vote-buying and misuse of funds from his political fund. However, during a nationally televised meeting of a lower house commission, he stressed that he was unaware of such irregularities.

“I deeply repent and apologise to the people for making wrong statements”, –  the former prime minister said. – “I want to correct my words and bring them in line with reality.”

“The violations were made without my knowledge, but I am still responsible for what happened”, –  Abe said.

It was earlier reported that a special investigation team of the Tokyo prosecutor’s office would not charge the former prime minister over the violations. However, they will be brought against his chief secretary. The charges relate to receptions held at a Tokyo hotel from 2013 to 2019 for organisations of Abe’s supporters from his constituency in Yamaguchi Prefecture, southwest of Japan’s main island of Honshu. They had been paying for the treats, but it was found to be insufficient and at least 30 million yen (nearly $290,000) had been allocated from the former prime minister’s funds for this purpose since 2015 without proper documentation. At the same time, Abe has repeatedly asserted as prime minister that no money from his fund has been allocated for such purposes.

Such payments could be seen as breaking the law and bribing voters. A person convicted under such an article faces up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 1 million yen (about $9,700). Abe led the country’s government from December 2012 until September 2020, when he resigned for health reasons.

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