Japan’s government said Monday that the names of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his wife and his finance minister were deleted from documents at the heart of a land scandal that erupted last year, a revelation that threatens to derail his administration and its economic strategy.
Finance Minister Taro Aso apologized and said an internal investigation was ongoing as opposition lawmakers called for him to resign. He admitted that staff in his department tampered with the documents, but said all the blame rests with one of his subordinates who resigned last week. Abe also sought to limit the damage.
“We’ll continue the investigation to get to the bottom of why this happened — I want Finance Minister Aso to take responsibility for that,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo Monday. “This situation has shaken public trust in the whole administration, and as its head, I feel responsibility and deeply apologize to the people.”