Japan’s finance ministry refuses to release information on document forgery scandal

The Ministry of Finance building can be seen in the Kasumigaseki administrative center in Tokyo. (Mainichi / Kiyohiro Akama)

OSAKA – The Ministry of Finance decided not to disclose information relating to the document falsification scandal concerning the discounted sale of public land to the operator of a nationalist school Moritomo Gakuen, following a request disclosure of the widow of a ministry employee who committed suicide in anguish because of the falsification of government documents, we learned on October 13.

Masako Akagi, 50, seeks to uncover the truth about the death of her husband, Toshio, then an employee of the Kinki local finance office of the Ministry of Finance, who committed suicide in 2018 at the age of 54. According to Masako’s lawyer, the ministry’s latest decision came on October 11. She intends to file a complaint with the ministry.

The Ministry of Finance concluded in a report released in June 2018 that Nobuhisa Sagawa, then head of the ministry’s finance office, had determined the direction of amending the ministry’s documents on the sale of the property and pursued the systematic forgery of the property. Kinki finance office. The “Akagi File”, in which the late official left detailed traces of how documents were altered, includes e-mail exchanges between the ministry and the finance office.

However, Masako requested in August this year that the ministry and finance office disclose documents the ministry collected in its investigation into the scandal as well as documents that he voluntarily submitted to the district attorney’s office in Osaka. She did so by claiming that many facts were still being revealed, including detailed exchanges within Sagawa’s financial office.

In the letter notifying its decision, the ministry explained its reasoning for not disclosing, stating: “If the documents related to the inspection (on the case) became public, we would not be able to receive the necessary cooperation to similar surveys. He also said: “The documents in question are incomplete information acquired during the process of the investigation. Therefore, their disclosure could risk creating unnecessary confusion among the public.

Regarding the material submitted to prosecutors, the ministry did not even reveal if it exists, claiming that it “would expose the content of investigative activities (by prosecutors)”. The Kinki finance office has already announced its decision not to release the documents.

Masako told the Mainichi Shimbun, “I had hoped that some sort of material would be released, so it’s very unfortunate. The organizational culture of the Ministry of Finance apparently does not allow the release of information unless you make requests multiple times, so I hope to continue requesting documents. ”

(Japanese original by Shiho Matsumoto, Osaka City News Service)

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