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Japan's Finance Ministry to admit altering land-sale documents - source

Reuters  |  TOKYO 

By Yamaguchi

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Ministry will admit altering documents involved in a controversial sale of state-owned land, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Saturday, raising the heat on the minister and threatening to erode Shinzo Abe's popularity.

The ministry plans to report to parliament on Monday that it has found instances where content was deleted from documents submitted to lawmakers, the source told on condition of anonymity.

Telephone calls seeking ministry comment went unanswered.

An admission would deal a fresh blow to Abe, who has struggled for months to draw a line under suspicion that a school operator used ties with Abe's wife to get a discounted deal on land in the western city of

It would also ratchet up the pressure on Minister Taro Aso, who said he had no intention to step down over the affair which led to the resignation on Friday of the chief,

On the day of Sagawa's resignation, media said police were investigating as a possible suicide the death of an at a bureau that handled the land deal. The government's spokesman said he had been notified about the death but declined to give details.

The scandal regained fresh momentum last week with opposition parties turning up the heat after the Asahi newspaper said some documents about the land sale might have been doctored.

Abe has denied that he or his wife did favours for the operator of the school, Moritomo Gakuen. Abe's grip on power has not appeared at risk so far, because his ruling coalition has big majorities in both houses of parliament.

But falling support could complicate his bid for a third term as in a September party vote. Re-election would put him on track to become Japan's

(Reporting by Yamaguchi; Additional reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by and Dale Hudson)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 10 2018. 20:06 IST