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Japanese Prime Minister apologizes for the scandal over his son's contacts with officials

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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga acknowledged on Monday that the scandal surrounding his eldest son's contacts with high-ranking officials seriously undermines public confidence in the head of government. He said this during a debate in the budget commission of the lower house of parliament in response to questions from opposition deputies.

“The current situation,” the Prime Minister said, “ seriously undermines the people's trust in me. I am deeply remorseful and apologize.”

Earlier, the Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan for Public Relations, Makiko Tanaka, resigned. In particular, she was engaged in organizing public speeches of the Prime Minister, and previously was a high-ranking employee of the Ministry of Administrative Affairs and Communications, which, in particular, is responsible for issuing licenses to television and radio companies.

In this capacity, she had at least one dinner in 2019 at the expense of Seigo Sugi, the Prime Minister's eldest son, who works for a satellite broadcasting company. This requires obtaining licenses from the Ministry. For the dinner, the prime minister's son paid 70 thousand yen (more than $650), which is regarded as a violation of the code of conduct of officials, which prohibits receiving gifts and offerings.

With the resignation of the cabinet secretary, the Kyodo news agency notes, the government would like to put an end to the current scandal. Makiko Tanaka was also urgently hospitalized on Monday, which may prevent her from being summoned to parliament again for questioning on the case.

Earlier, Kyodo reported that at least 11 officials of the Ministry of Administrative Affairs and Communications took part in the dinners paid for by the son of the head of government. Yoshihide Suga has previously issued a public apology for the scandal. At the same time, he stressed that he had never discussed his work with his son.

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