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Monday, March 01, 2021, 18:10
Japan PM Suga apologizes over expensive dinners scandal
By Reuters
Monday, March 01, 2021, 18:10 By Reuters

Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declares state of emergency on Jan 7, 2021. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologized on Monday following the resignation of a key spokeswoman, who along with other senior bureaucrats were reprimanded for attending expensive dinners hosted by Suga’s son.

Makiko Yamada, Cabinet Public Relations Secretary, tendered her resignation from hospital after being admitted for ill health, the government said.

Makiko Yamada, Cabinet Public Relations Secretary, tendered her resignation from hospital after being admitted for ill health, the government said

Suga’s administration and the 60-year-old spokeswoman had faced public criticism after magazine Shukan Bunshun last month reported that Suga’s eldest son, Seigo Suga, an executive at a company producing television programmes for satellite broadcaster, had paid for expensive dinners for senior bureaucrats.

ALSO READ: Japan to punish officials treated to meals with PM's son

Japan’s National Civil Service Ethics Law prohibits government employees from receiving gifts or entertainment from companies or individuals that could be seen to curry favour.

“I’m very sorry that a member of my family was involved in behaviour resulting in public servants breaching the ethics law, and I apologise deeply to citizens,” Suga told parliament. “I deeply regret that it has come to a situation, where people’s trust in the administration has been damaged”

Yamada’s dinner with Suga’s son and other executives at the company, one of several that prompted reprimands for 11 bureaucrats, cost 74,203 yen (US$696) per person, according to local media reports.

READ MORE: Japan PM under fire for year-end dinners as virus cases mount

Yamada admission to hospital meant she missed a Monday parliamentary committee meeting where opposition politicians were expected to question her about her dinner with the younger Suga, which was in 2019 when she was an official at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.


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