Abe under fire over allegations of shady dealings

This article is more than 12 months old

TOKYO: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was under mounting pressure yesterday over allegations that he had used his influence to help a friend in a business deal after two official reports appeared to back up the claims.

Mr Abe is in little danger of losing his job, but his popularity has taken a hit in the midst of the latest shady dealings claims.

They come a few months after the conservative premier was forced to deny connections to a controversial director of a school that had purchased government land at a huge discount - and counted Mr Abe's wife as its honorary principal.

This week, the Education Ministry and Cabinet Office confirmed the existence of documents similar to the ones the opposition pointed to as evidence that Mr Abe had used his power improperly to pressure bureaucrats into helping a friend.

The claims, originally reported by the Asahi newspaper last month, centre on documents that suggested the Education Ministry was pressured to grant approval for a new veterinary school run by one of Mr Abe's old university buddies.

The friend, Mr Kotaro Kake, allegedly wanted to open his school in a special economic zone so that he could bypass cumbersome regulations. - AFP