Japanese Prosecutors will not indict Abe over expenses for atnnual gatherings

Tokyo, Dec 24 (FN Agency)

Japanese prosecutors on Thursday decided not to indict former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over allegations that his support group had failed to provide accurate financial information related to organizing annual cherry blossom viewing gatherings for supporters, media reported.

According to Kyodo news agency, prosecutors instead issued an indictment to Abe’s state-paid secretary, Hiroyuki Haikawa, and will impose a fine for his failure to keep some financial records related to dinners. Earlier in December, media reported that the prosecutors intended to proceed with the case against Abe’s aide, who was in charge of organizing annual cherry blossom-viewing parties held between 2013 and 2019 and reportedly failed to disclose the full cost of the events.

The bills for the parties not declared in political fund reports are estimated at 23 million yen ($222,000), much higher than what was collected from attendees. In August, Abe, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, resigned abruptly due to the recurrence of a chronic illness. The Japanese parliament promptly elevated Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to head a new government. Abe, a life-long member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is seen as political royalty in Japan with heavyweight political and military leaders on both sides of his family.